Mark Williams teaches in the English Programme at Victoria University of Wellington. With Jane Stafford he wrote Maoriland: New Zealand Literature 1872–1914 and edited The Auckland University Press Anthology of New Zealand Literature and, with Jane Stafford and Ralph Crane, The Oxford History of the Novel in English, volume 9. He has recently edited A History of New Zealand Literature for Cambridge University Press.
This essay offers a case study of the reading habits of Lieutenant Abel Dottin William Best, who arrived in Port Nicholson in June 1840. He commanded thirty men of the 65th regiment who had been sent to accompany Colonial Secretary…