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

Reading Experience Database UK Historical image of readers
 
 
 
 

Record Number: 21507


Reading Experience:

Evidence:

'Next day I dined with Johnson at Mr. Thrale's. He attacked Gray, calling him a "dull fellow." Boswell. "I understand he was reserved, and might appear dull in company; but surely he was not dull in poetry." Johnson. "Sir, he was dull in company, dull in his closet, dull every where. He was dull in a new way, and that made many people think him GREAT. He was a mechanical poet." He then repeated some ludicrous lines, which have escaped my memory, and said, "Is not that GREAT, like his Odes?" Mrs. Thrale maintained that his Odes were melodious; upon which he exclaimed, "Weave the warp, and weave the woof;" I added, in a solemn tone, "The winding sheet of Edward's race". "[italics] There [end italics] is a good line.""Ay (said he), and the next line is a good one," (pronouncing it contemptuously;) "Give ample verge and room enough." "No, sir, there are but two good stanzas in Gray's poetry, which are in his 'Elegy in a Country Churchyard.'" He then repeated the stanza, "For who to dumb forgetfulness a prey," &c. mistaking one word; for instead of [italics] precincts [end italics] he said [italics] confines [end italics]. He added, "The other stanza I forget".'

Century:

1700-1799

Date:

Until: 28 Mar 1775

Country:

n/a

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:

n/a

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

n/a


Additional Comments:

n/a



Text Being Read:

Author:

Thomas Gray

Title:

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

Genre:

Poetry

Form of Text:

Print: Unknown

Publication Details

n/a

Provenance

unknown


Source Information:

Record ID:

21507

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:

600-01

Additional Comments:

n/a

Citation:

James Boswell, R.W. Chapman (ed.), Life of Johnson, (Oxford, 1980), p. 600-01, http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=21507, accessed: 27 February 2021


Additional Comments:

Originally published 1791

   
   
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