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Literary gifts for women

During the last decades of the 18th century a new literary trend emerged in Denmark: publications presented as «New Year’s gifts» for ladies, youth and children, as well as for farmers and servants. These were modest books containing various literary texts, for perusal and instruction. Many of the texts were translated from German, English, and more seldom French, but there were also author-editors writing all texts themselves, or reediting texts that had already been published in Danish news papers and journals.

The publications ressemble, and are often associated to, journals and subscription based collection of works, like the «Ladies’ libraries». By the end of 1790s there is also a series of New Year's Gifts of more elaborated poetry collections.

The database contains information on editors, publishing contexts and content of literary gifts for women. It serves as a research tool for an analysis of the shaping of a modern female reader, and of a modern female citizen through reading, as well as reasearch on the development of  the New Year’s gift as a particular publication strategy.

The database is under construction by Anne Birgitte Rønning, Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Oslo.

The readers

The aim of the database is to document and facilitate research on works adressed to female readers. It also contains "new year's gifts" for other groups of readers, such as children, youth, artisans, as well as those particularly adressed to readers of both sexes. Through advanced search it is possible to single out specific target groups.