Reading by Chance in a World of Wandering Texts

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    This chapter focusses on a certain type of imperial encounter: that of the weary traveller or colonial servant who meets, unexpectedly, with a misplaced book. Sometimes the book may be an old favourite: a haunting relic of a lost Britain. Sometimes it is entirely unfamiliar, and can set its finder off on exciting tangents of cross-cultural thought. Drawing on examples from India, Australia, Malaya and North America, this article contributes to the emergent ‘worlding’ of book history. But by illustrating the wonderfully unpredictable trajectories that books can take in global circulation, its specific intervention is to propose (and celebrate) randomness as a paradigm for studying imperial reading cultures.

    © 2017, The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s). The attached document (embargoed until 01/08/2020) is an author produced version of a chapter, uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Global Histories of Books
    Subtitle of host publicationMethodologies and Practices
    EditorsElleke Boehmer, Priyasha Mukhopadhyay, Asha Rogers, Rouven Kunstmann
    Place of PublicationBasingstoke
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-51334-8, 978-3-319-84623-1
    ISBN (Print)978-3-319-51333-1
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

    Publication series

    NameNew Directions in Book History
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan

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