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Charles Shillito
The Country Book-Club
London, 1788
HEW 9.7.14
Houghton Library
Fir'd by example, soon th' aspiring crowd, With minds less polish'd, but with lungs more loud, Began to sacrifice at wisdom's shrine, And taste the sweets of lit'rature—and wine.
—From pages 14 and 15
The etching is the work of Thomas Rowlandson, from a design by James Dunthorne.

Reading as a social concern is made manifest in the book clubs, reading groups, and literary associations that have flourished for centuries.