The Reading Communities of Collecting: Sale Catalogues, Sociability, and Ephemerality, 1676-1862


"In this essay I want to explore the status of the sale catalogue as 'ephemeral literature' with two broad aims: firstly, as a means of describing and evaluating the importance of book publicity to the sociability of reading; and secondly, in order to draw attention to the significance of printed ephemera itself as a form of textuality that was commodified and circulated 1n such catalogues in conjunction with the codex-form book. The sale catalogue, I want to argue, is an important print genre whereby the broader spectrum of ephemeral literature and associational culture as a whole were defined and mediated in period. The first half of this article outlines the history of the development of the library sale catalogue as a genre of printed ephemera while in the second part I outline its importance for a neglected but exemplary figure in the science constituted by ephemeral literature, the Victorian collector and antiquarian John Joseph Ashby Fillinham, who made extensive collections of printed ephemera relating to public amusements between 1770 and 1850, including catalogues of other collections."

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Published 1 October 2014 in Reading Communities and the Circulation of Print. Subjects: Book history, Reading, Sales catalogues.

Cite as: Russell, Gillian. ‘The Reading Communities of Collecting: Sale Catalogues, Sociability, and Ephemerality, 1676-1862.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 29, no. 3, 2014, doi: 10.20314/als.4a6750e32e.