“Shelfies” as Identity Performances in Edwardian Britain

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates

Dr Lauren Alex O’Hagan is a Researcher in the Department of Media and Communication Studies at Örebro University, Sweden. Her research interests and publications focus largely on class conflict, literacy practices and consumer culture in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain using a multimodal ethnohistorical lens.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a renewed interest in what we read and what our books say about us. With those all too familiar Zoom meetings, we have become increasingly conscious of our backdrop of bookshelves and wonder whether our literary tastes and author preferences stand up to public scrutiny. Knowing that our bookshelves will be seen by others can lead us to behave in particular ways, hiding certain books and foregrounding others, adding ornaments or decorations to shelves or even colour-coding our collections to “liven them up” a little. The importance of books as material objects rather than vessels of information is particularly captured…

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