Novels of Interest

9. The circulating library was important as a means of disseminating these volumes to different readerships, connecting writers and readers, and maintaining publishers and sellers. The novel, as such, contributed to literacy, education and entertainment during a period of expansion in print, reading and the popularity of fiction. It did so by catering to the varied reading interests of the middle classes.

Contemporary foreign novels such as The Sorrows of Werter (Chiswick: Whittingham, 1823; 1774) seem well suited to such interests, and here, although printed by popular publishers, the book is handsomely bound in full calf with gilt edges.