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

Reading Experience Database UK Historical image of readers
 
 
 
 

Record Number: 21502


Reading Experience:

Evidence:

'Johnson was in high spirits this evening at the club, and talked with great animation and success. He attacked Swift, as he used to do upon all occasions. "The 'Tale of a Tub' is so much superiour to his other writings that one can hardly believe he was the authour of it. There is in it such a vigour of mind, such a swarm of thoughts, so much of nature, and art, and life." I wondered to hear him say of "Gulliver's Travels", "When once you have thought of big men and little men, it is very easy to do all the rest." I endeavoured to make a stand for Swift, and tried to rouse those who were much more able to defend him; but in vain. Johnson at last, of his own accord, allowed very great merit to the inventory of articles found in the pocket of [italics] The Man Mountain [end italics], particularly the description of his watch, which, it was conjectured, was his God, as he consulted it upon all occasions. He observed, that "Swift put his name to but two things (after he had a name to put), 'The Plan of the Improvement of the English Language,' and the last 'Drapier's Letter'."'

Century:

1700-1799

Date:

Until: 24 Mar 1775

Country:

England

Time

n/a

Place:

city: London

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:

Jonathan Swift

Title:

Gulliver's Travels

Genre:

Fiction

Form of Text:

Print: Book

Publication Details

n/a

Provenance

unknown


Source Information:

Record ID:

21502

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:

595

Additional Comments:

n/a

Citation:

James Boswell, R.W. Chapman (ed.), Life of Johnson, (Oxford, 1980), p. 595, http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=21502, accessed: 27 February 2021


Additional Comments:

Originally published 1791

   
   
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