Friday, March 2, 2012

The Reading of a Bad Boy

Following on from Charles Dudley Warner's fireplace reveries, another postbellum scene of reading.

When I idly started this blog, I didn't imagine that I'd be spending so much time in the 1870s. But the more you dig into the post-war decade, the more it seems to me that it's a neglected treasure trove. Another case in point: leafing through Thomas Bailey Aldrich's The Story of a Bad Boy (serialised in 1869, published in 1870, I think), I came across this delightful picture of the narrator's childhood reading habits, which says a lot about popular literary tastes in the antebellum years (and, I'm pleased to say, having spent long enough last summer thinking about the spread of British crime stories in antebellum America, features Jack Sheppard):