This is a post I wrote at the start of the summer school when I was starting to think about what a public was.
Today marked the first day of the Reading Publics summer school at the University of Warwick. So far it has been exceptionally stimulating and has exploded some concepts that I thought that I had a half decent understanding of. One of these is the concept of a public, or more specifically the idea of a reading public. During the first half of day we tried to flesh out what a public was, how do you define it and distinguish it from the private. As we discussed the concept, I started to have an uneasiness of talking about a public. Particular in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
The first reason for this was because in terms of books and readership there seemed to be several limitations to who could read the book. For instance, some books were expensive and could only be afforded by a rich cultural elite. Can we really…
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