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Cabinets de lecture  

Last Updated: Feb 24, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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The cabinet de lecture - a commercial rental or subscription library - was a popular source of reading materials in nineteenth century France.

The Kelly Library owns the partial collections of two such libraries:

  • the Desbois cabinet from Bordeaux (Gironde)
  • a cabinet of unknown ownership from Domfront (Orne)

There is also a parish library from Bourgueil (Indre-et-Loire) and a small number of books from the Bouquerot cabinet and from the Colinette-Fleury cabinet in Baugé (Maine-et-Loire).

In addition to novels, these cabinets often included periodicals, memoirs, and travel literature, and sometimes religion, history, and philosophy.

Le Cabinet de lecture, Johann Peter Hasenclever (1843), Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin.


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Noel S. McFerran
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Theology and Rare Books Librarian
John M. Kelly Library
University of St. Michael's College
416-926-1300, x3472
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