Issue Details: First known date: 2014 2014
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'This article considers some colonial responses to the wider field of ‘British’ Victorian literary reading by following the reading traces left in the diaries of three middle-class women in Melbourne in the 1860s, 70s and 80s: Henrietta Jennings (1887–89), Thomas Anne Cole (1867–82) and Joyce Sincock (1862). Cole’s and Jennings’ diaries offer the most detail but, for both, the record of reading tends to be random, partial and sometimes illegible. Sincock’s diary is brief, and more youthful. It offers a slice of one moment in her life, with considerable detail about some of her reading at that moment. Jennings’ and Cole’s’ diaries map regular visits to town. Jennings visits circulating libraries in Melbourne, such as ‘Mullen’s Select Library’ in Bourke Street, to acquire the latest novels and, as Cole’s early diaries show similar fashionable reading, it is likely she borrowed, or possibly bought, from the same sources. All three diaries reveal wider patterns of reading across a range of genres (and sources), particularly Cole and Jennings; newspaper reading, which may have included the reading of local, as well as British, serial fiction alongside attention to ‘serious’ news items. The reading which Jennings records is eclectic, in terms of genre, and international-Anglophone, including a substantial amount of American writing as well as British and Australian. The reading of Cole, in her early records, tends more to British writing, and travel writing while Sincock reads whatever she can get. All three women also engage in religious reading; the Bible and sermons, but also a variety of other works that might be designated spiritual.' (Author's introduction)

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Last amended 8 Dec 2014 10:19:01
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