Switch to English Switch to French

The Open University  |   Study at the OU  |   About the OU  |   Research at the OU  |   Search the OU

Listen to this page  |   Accessibility

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

Reading Experience Database UK Historical image of readers
 
 
 
 

Record Number: 21041


Reading Experience:

Evidence:

'After dinner our conversation first turned upon Pope. Johnson said, his characters of men were admirably drawn, those of women not so well. He repeated to us, in his forcible melodious manner, the concluding lines of the "Dunciad". While he was talking loudly in praise of those lines, one of the company ventured to say, "Too fine for such a poem:— a poem on what?" Johnson, (with a disdainful look,) "Why, on [italics] dunces [italics]. It was worth while being a dunce then. Ah, Sir, hadst [italics] thou [italics] lived in those days! It is not worth while being a dunce now, when there are no wits." Bickerstaff observed, as a peculiar circumstance, that Pope's fame was higher when he was alive, than it was then. Johnson said, his Pastorals were poor things, though the versification was fine. He told us, with high satisfaction, the anecdote of Pope's enquiring who was the author of his "London," and saying, he will be soon [italics] deterré [italics]. He observed, that in Dryden's poetry there were passages drawn from a profundity which Pope could never reach. He repeated some fine lines on love, by the former, (which I have now forgotten,) and gave great applause to the character of Zimri. Goldsmith said, that Pope's character of Addison shewed a deep knowledge of the human heart. Johnson said, that the description of the temple, in "The Mourning Bride," was the finest poetical passage he had ever read; he recollected none in Shakspeare equal to it'.

Century:

1700-1799

Date:

Until: 16 Oct 1769

Country:

England

Time

n/a

Place:

n/a

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:

Samuel Johnson

Age:

Adult (18-100+)

Gender:

Male

Date of Birth:

18 Sep 1709

Socio-Economic Group:

Professional / academic / merchant / farmer

Occupation:

writer

Religion:

Anglican

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:

Alexander Pope

Title:

Pastorals

Genre:

Poetry

Form of Text:

Print: Book

Publication Details

n/a

Provenance

unknown


Source Information:

Record ID:

21041

Source:

Print

Author:

James Boswell

Editor:

R.W. Chapman

Title:

Life of Johnson

Place of Publication:

Oxford

Date of Publication:

1980

Vol:

n/a

Page:

411-12

Additional Comments:

n/a

Citation:

James Boswell, R.W. Chapman (ed.), Life of Johnson, (Oxford, 1980), p. 411-12, http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=21041, accessed: 02 March 2021


Additional Comments:

Originally published 1791.

   
   
Green Turtle Web Design