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April 8, 2022


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How have famous books been read and received by audiences in the past? This course, History of reading tutorial 2: The reading and reception of literary texts a case study of Robinson Crusoe, is the second tutorial in a series designed to help users of the UK Reading Experience Database (UK RED) search, browse and use this resource, and explores the use of historical evidence to understand the reading and reception of a literary text, in this case, Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe. The first tutorial in this series (Red_1) shows how historians have uncovered evidence of reading in the past, while the next tutorial (Red_3) demonstrates how evidence of a writer's reading can add to our understanding of their literary output.


The purpose of this course is to demonstrate how the UK Reading Experience Database (UK RED) can be used in a study of the reading and reception of a literary text. The example chosen for the case study is Daniel Defoe’s famous novel, Robinson Crusoe (1719), and the course takes the student through the process of locating evidence of reading Robinson Crusoe that is included in RED, and then, by means of exercises and linked ‘discussions’, shows how this evidence can be analyzed, and conclusions drawn from it. In working through this particular case study, students are learning not only about the reception of Robinson Crusoe, but are learning how to make a similar study of the reception of any literary text or author that they may be interested in.

Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:
  • Locate data in UK RED to help study the reading and reception of a literary text
  • Analyze individual reading experiences contained in UK RED
  • Understand how evidence from UK RED might be incorporated into arguments about the wider significance of reading as a cultural practice.

Course Curriculum

    • Overview 00:10:00
    • Robinson Crusoe 00:10:00
    • Childhood reading of Robinson Crusoe 00:10:00
    • Female Readers of Robinson Crusoe 00:10:00
    • Male Readers of Robinson Crusoe 00:10:00
    • Conclusion 00:10:00

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Open University UK