The Social Life of Books: Reading Together in the Eighteenth-Century Home is one of the latest volumes in Yale University Press's Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History. The series boasts a wide range of socio-historical studies of the long (and, significantly, not exclusively Western) eighteenth century, including in-depth looks at topics as diverse as the slave trade, capitalism, empire, environmentalism, and even happiness.

With its interdisciplinary scope, extensive primary research, and attention to the connection between literature and culture, Williams's book fits well with those that came before it in the series. It also exemplifies the kind of work that scholars of the history of authorship, reading, and publishing have been doing for decades: placing the book firmly in its socio-historical context and in the hands of those who actually consumed it. Moreover, with its literary focus, it will simultaneously draw in the more traditional or canon-focused literary...

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