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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

Reading Experience Database UK Historical image of readers

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Henry David Thoreau


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Henry David Thoreau : unknown

Constance Smedley on readings in American literature: 'Thoreau ... opened the door to a philosophy of life when I was about fifteen ... in his train came Emerson and Lowell ...'

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: Constance Smedley      Print: Unknown


Henry David Thoreau : 

[Bill Naughton was hurt that when he applied for conscientious objector status the tribunal was suspicious of his elevated vocabulary] '"I couldn't help feeling hurt", Naughton recalled, "that they should deny one the right to use the English language". That hit both ethnic and class nerves: he had been born in County Mayo of peasant stock. At any rate, he was using the language to read Locke, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Schopenhauer, Marx and The Faerie Queene. They were not easy to decipher at first, but as he pieced together an understanding of what he was reading, he became more critical and less deferential...'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Bill Naughton      Print: Book


Henry David Thoreau : Walden

'I arrived half-dead at La Neuville, and slept there for twelve hours or more. The next day we went to Braches, and then on foot to Rouvrel. About there, the country was unscathed by war, and very beautiful. On a bank by the roadside, I took Walden out of my pocket, where it had been forgotten since the morning of the 21st, and there began to read it. At Rouvrel the rest of the Battalion rejoined us the next day.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Herbert Edward Read      Print: Book


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