Of course -...

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Of course, there are other reasons why the Victorians read so assiduously. Dickens' era had a  rapidly growing middle class, one that read and one that was large enough to ensure a constant  demand for the printed word. The middle class was still trying to "prove itself" — to show the world  that it was at least as fit to govern as the aristocracy. To establish and maintain its good name, this  class had to show itself moral, sober, knowledgeable, responsible, and even, if possible, literate and  refined like the lords and ladies. Knowledge and refinement were to be gained mostly from books,  magazines, and other printed matter. To read was to gain, to become, to advance: Such was the  unconscious motto of a great part of the Victorian public. One should also note that most reading  material was quite inexpensive in Dickens' London.
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Of course -...

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