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Civilians and War in Europe, 1618–1815$
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Erica Charters, Eve Rosenhaft, and Hannah Smith

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781846317118

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317699

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date: 20 November 2017

Imprisoned Reading: French Prisoners of War at the Selkirk Subscription Library, 1811–1814 1

Imprisoned Reading: French Prisoners of War at the Selkirk Subscription Library, 1811–1814 1

Chapter:
(p.241) 16 Imprisoned Reading: French Prisoners of War at the Selkirk Subscription Library, 1811–1814 1
Source:
Civilians and War in Europe, 1618–1815
Author(s):

Mark Towsey

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846317699.016

This chapter explores an aspect of the Napoleonic wars that illustrates how good relations might flourish between civilians and the military: French officers stationed in Selkirk, a Scottish border town, as prisoners of war (POWs). By looking at their reading habits, it shows that these prisoners had divergent national interests alongside cultural similarities, focusing on the Selkirk subscription library, where POWs were given access to books for the duration of their stay. The chapter also considers the role of books in mediating warfare, and how they influenced soldiers' perceptions of the conflicts in which they participated and reshaped their memories (and memoirs) after leaving the battlefield.

Keywords:   Napoleonic wars, civilians, soldiers, prisoners of war, Selkirk, subscription library, books, reading habits

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