chapter  2
33 Pages

Economic manuals and textbooks in Great Britain and the British Empire 1797–1938


A textbook is a work designed to instruct a novice reader, inducting that reader into the principles of a specific body of knowledge. Today, an economic textbook is a product linked to a class or course in school, college or university – it is used as a common reference in a pedagogic situation, whether this be face-toface as in a classroom, or as part of a distance-learning package. The evolution of textbook literature so understood thus parallels the evolution of schooling and curricula; in Britain this process was initiated in 1879, with the publication of Alfred and Mary Marshall’s Economics of Industry, written for use in University Extension teaching.2