Andrea Reyes Elizondo M.A. { book history researcher; }
Reading Spaces in Seventeenth-Century New Spain
A Historical Approach to Reading
Reading is an activity that is realised in a specific place and period by individuals with different backgrounds, interests, expectations, and degrees of literacy. Reconstructing reading and its different practices throughout history is therefore an elaborate task.

This study proposes the use of the ‘reading spaces’ model as a methodology to outline the reading possibilities for various social groups in specific historical periods and places. The study goes beyond the basic divide of the literate and the illiterate by considering a wider context and analysing the elements that can foster or limit reading.

These influences have been determined through a review of existing historical reading studies and can be summarised into education, profession, socio-economic conditions, culture, and the legal and political system of any certain period.

This particular approach to reading studies was developed as a method to study the activity of reading in seventeenth-century New Spain. The paper provides a theoretical framework for the reading spaces model as a basis and it then examines the various differentiators and conditions that influence reading in seventeenth-century colonial Mexico. Finally, it presents the analysis of three book inventories from that period and compares them to their corresponding reading spaces.

For further enquiries, please send an email to andrea [at] cocofield [dot] com.