The reading revolution  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
"A novel which sold well in the eighteenth century - and even the most successful book rarely sold more than a few thousand copies - did so within a fairly closed circle of readers, many of whom as writers also participated in deciding the prevailing criteria of literary excellence." -- Resa L. Dudovitz
"By the mid-nineteenth century cheaper editions and improved access to reading material through subscriptions and in France, through reading rooms, pushed sales of a popular novel as high as 10,000 copies. Although critics continued to function as the arbiters of taste, the critical elite could no longer claim literature to be their exclusive property." -- Resa L. Dudovitz

Outside of theatre, which has existed since the dawn of man, reading has been our prime means of consuming fiction since the 1850s (primary education, availability of cheap paper) until the advent of sound film in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The reading revolution" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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