Perceptions of France : French books in the early libraries of South Australia, 1848-1884
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In 1848, the South Australian Library and Mechanics’ Institute came into existence. It was the first stable library in South Australia. In 1856 its books passed to the library of the South Australian Institute, whose holdings continued to grow until 1883, when many of the books were transferred to the fledgling Public Library, forerunner of today’s State Library. Between 1848 and 1883 the two early libraries built up a collection of nearly 20,000 works of which a little over 500 were by French authors, and almost half of those books were in French. This paper follows the growth of the collection of French books and examines the nature of the books that were acquired. In doing so it highlights the place which French culture continued to occupy within the intellectual life of early South Australia and illustrates the gradual change of taste as an elite culture was displaced by the demands of a more popular readership.
Culpin , D J 2009 , ' Perceptions of France : French books in the early libraries of South Australia, 1848-1884 ' French History and Civilization , vol 2 , pp. 120-136 .
French History and Civilization
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This work is partially supported by funding from the British Academy
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