Arrian's History of Alexander's Expedition, Translated from by Mr. Rooke

By Mr. Rooke

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15 Although demand for commentaries flourished in an evangelical climate, there was nothing new about the support they offered to devotional reading. A striking feature of the nineteenth-century market was the enduring appeal of old and familiar commentaries. The appetite for Christian classics even kept up a market for Calvin’s commentaries, which were issued by the Calvin Translation Society. 16 Sometimes excerpts from these works were wedged into the margins of family Bibles but they were often republished in their own right, the bewigged heads of their authors staring gravely out from their frontispiece portraits.

20 In exceptional circumstances, inter-personal book lending does appear to have been more effectively organized, with formal borrowing registers constituting the most detailed evidence for how it functioned. 21 More importantly, complete borrowing registers have been discovered for three castle libraries in the same region of north-eastern Scotland, belonging to families of similar social status with overlapping networks of friends and associates, and covering roughly the same period – namely the 1760s through to the first decades of the nineteenth century.

37 Many noble collectors rushed to emulate their sovereign’s benevolence, with the Duke of Roxburghe making his celebrated library at Floors open to ‘bona fide scholars’. 38 24 The History of Reading On a less exalted level, private libraries proved particularly valuable to the wider professional community in providing access to scientific and medical literature. George Sinclair, a surgeon newly arrived in Thurso, borrowed six anatomical books from his kinsman William Sinclair Esq. 45 Robert Innes of Leuchars, who would no doubt have owned his own library, borrowed Millar’s English Constitution from Brodie Castle, while Ferguson’s Essay and History of the Roman Republic were both borrowed by various interested parties.

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