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

Reading Experience Database UK Historical image of readers
 
 
 
 

Record Number: 16095


Reading Experience:

Evidence:

'During these eight months [of striving for literary fame, aged eleven] I never felt myself of ore consequence or had a better opinion of my own talents -- In short I was in infinite danger of being as vain as I was inexperienced! During this dangerous period I was from home & the fever of a heated imagination was perhaps increased by the intoxicating gai[e]ties of a watering place Ramsgate where we then were and where I commenced my poem "The Battle of Marathon" [...] When we came home one day after having written a page of poetry which I considered models of beauty I ran downstairs to the library to seek Popes Homer in order to compare them that I might enjoy my OWN SUPERIORITY [...] I brought Homer up in triumph & read first my own Poem & afterwards began to compare -- I read fifty lines from the glorious Father of the lyre -- It was enough -- I felt the whole extent of my own immense & mortifying inferiority -- 'My first impulse was to throw with mingled feelings of contempt & anguish my composition on the floor -- my next to burst into tears! & I wept for an hour and then returned to reason and humility [...] From this period for a twelvemonth I could find no pleasure in any book but Homer. I read & longed to read again and tho I had it nearly by heart I still found new beauties & fresh enchantments'.

Century:

1800-1849

Date:

Between 6 Mar 1817 and 6 Mar 1818

Country:

England

Time

n/a

Place:

city: Ramsgate

Type of Experience
(Reader):
 

silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Type of Experience
(Listener):
 

solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown


Reader / Listener / Reading Group:

Reader:

Elizabeth Barrett

Age:

Child (0-17)

Gender:

Female

Date of Birth:

6 Mar 1806

Socio-Economic Group:

Professional / academic / merchant / farmer

Occupation:

child

Religion:

Evangelical

Country of Origin:

England

Country of Experience:

England

Listeners present if any:
e.g family, servants, friends

n/a


Additional Comments:

n/a



Text Being Read:

Author:

Elizabeth Barrett

Title:

The Battle of Marathon

Genre:

Classics, Poetry

Form of Text:

Manuscript: Unknown

Publication Details

n/a

Provenance

owned


Source Information:

Record ID:

16095

Source:

Print

Author:

n/a

Editor:

Philip Kelley and Ronald Hudson

Title:

The Brownings' Correspondence

Place of Publication:

Winfield

Date of Publication:

1984

Vol:

1

Page:

351

Additional Comments:

n/a

Citation:

Philip Kelley and Ronald Hudson (ed.), The Brownings' Correspondence, (Winfield, 1984), 1, p. 351, http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=16095, accessed: 08 February 2023


Additional Comments:

Evidence from Elizabeth Barrett's 'Glimpses into My Own Life and Literary Character' (composed 1820-21). Not clear whether Pope's translation of the Odyssey and/or the Iliad referred to.

   
   
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