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RoomscapeWomen Writers in the British Museum from George Eliot to Virginia Woolf$
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Susan David Bernstein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748640652

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640652.001.0001

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Women Readers at the British Museum

(p.1) Chapter 1 Exteriority

Susan David Bernstein

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter sets out the book's two central arguments: first, it shows that the British Museum Round Reading Room facilitated various practices of women's literary production and tradition; second, it questions the overdetermined value of privacy and autonomy in constructions of female authorship. Rather than viewing reading and writing as solitary events, the book considers the public and social dimensions of literary production. Drawing on archival materials around this national library reading room the book also integrates historical, theoretical, literary, and documentary sources to examine the significance of this space for women writers and their treatment of reading and writing spaces, and more broadly the meaning of communal spaces.

Keywords:   British Museum, Round Reading Room, women's literary production, privacy, autonomy, writing, library

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