The Open UniversitySkip to content

Readers and Reading in the First World War

Towheed, Shafquat; Benatti, Francesca and King, Edmund G. C. (2015). Readers and Reading in the First World War. Yearbook of English Studies, 45 pp. 239–261.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (354kB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This essay consists of three individually authored and interlinked sections. In ‘A Digital Humanities Approach’, Francesca Benatti looks at datasets and databases (including the UK Reading Experience Database) and shows how a systematic, macro-analytical use of digital humanities tools and resources might yield answers to some key questions about reading in the First World War. In ‘Reading behind the Wire in the First World War’ Edmund G. C. King scrutinizes the reading practices and preferences of Allied prisoners of war in Mainz, showing that reading circumscribed by the contingencies of a prison camp created an unique literary community, whose legacy can be traced through their literary output after the war. In ‘Book-hunger in Salonika’, Shafquat Towheed examines the record of a single reader in a specific and fairly static frontline, and argues that in the case of the Salonika campaign, reading communities emerged in close proximity to existing centres of print culture. The focus of this essay moves from the general to the particular, from the scoping of large datasets, to the analyses of identified readers within a specific geographical and temporal space. The authors engage with the wider issues and problems of recovering, interpreting, visualizing, narrating, and representing readers in the First World War.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2015 Modern Humanities Research Association
ISSN: 0306-2473
Keywords: history of the book; history of reading; First World War; Digital Humanities
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities > English & Creative Writing
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: Digital Humanities at the Open University (DH_OU)
History of Books and Reading (HOBAR)
Item ID: 50720
Depositing User: Francesca Benatti
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2017 13:37
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2019 23:35
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU