Producing Adult Readers: 1930–50

  • David Bartholomae


The right material for the right reader. This essay explores the large-scale organization of reading in the United States before, during, and after World War II but particularly during the depression, when unemployment or “enforced leisure” created a new and, to some, dangerous population of adults with time on their hands — time, it was felt, that might best be spent with a book. There were adult readers, of course, before the adult reader became a key term in a diverse program of research and instruction. For my purposes in this essay, the “adult reader” is a figure of speech, a character in the professional literature whose name is invoked to justify a research agenda, the expense of public funds, or the organization of a curriculum.


Adult Education Library School Great Book Literary Tradition Adult Reader 
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Copyright information

© Bedford/St. Martin’s 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Bartholomae
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PittsburghUSA

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