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" Vice And Obscenity Dreadfully Propagated": Circulating Libraries

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Chapter Summary

The provision of books, in Scotland, was not always conducted according to such associational principles. Scots also had a share in the origins and development of commercial circulating libraries - ostensibly run for profit rather than improvement. Those who took it upon themselves to act as moral guardians of the British nation as the century progressed may have written with more polite restraint than Robert Wodrow, but their message was effectively the same - that by their incessant promotion of novels and romances, circulating libraries were propagating "vice and obscenity". The chapter also explores how circulating libraries on the commercial model emerged in Scotland - especially in the second half of the eighteenth century.

Keywords: circulatinglibrary; obscenity; Scottish booksellers; vice



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