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

Reading Experience Database UK Historical image of readers
 
 
 
 

Record Number: 21770


Reading Experience:

Evidence:

'Sir John Pringle had expressed a wish that I would ask Dr. Johnson's opinion what were the best English sermons for style. I took an opportunity to-day of mentioning several to him. "Atterbury?" Johnson. "Yes, Sir, one of the best". Boswell. "Tillotson?". Johnson. "Why, not now. I should not advise a preacher at this day to imitate Tillotson's style: though I don't know; I should be cautious of objecting to what has been applauded by so many suffrages. South is one of the best, if you except his peculiarities, and his violence, and sometimes coarseness of language. Seed has a very fine style; but he is not very theological. Jortin's sermons are very elegant. Sherlock's style too is very elegant, though he has not made it his principal study. And you may add Smallridge. All the latter preachers have a good style. Indeed, nobody now talks much of style: everybody composes pretty well. There are no such inharmonious periods as there were a hundred years ago. I should recommend Dr. Clarke's sermons, were he orthodox. However, it is very well known where he is not orthodox, which was upon the doctrine of the Trinity, as to which he is a condemned heretic: so one is aware of it." Boswell. "I like Ogden's "Sermons on Prayer" very much, both for neatness of style and subtilty of reasoning. "Johnson. "I should like to read all that Ogden has written." Boswell. "What I wish to know is, what sermons afford the best specimen of English pulpit eloquence." Johnson. "We have no sermons addressed to the passions, that are good for anything; if you mean that kind of eloquence".'

Century:

1700-1799

Date:

Until: 7 Apr 1778

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:

James Boswell

Age:

Adult (18-100+)

Gender:

Male

Date of Birth:

29 Oct 1740

Socio-Economic Group:

Professional / academic / merchant / farmer

Occupation:

writer and lawyer

Religion:

n/a

Country of Origin:

Scotland

Country of Experience:

n/a

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

n/a


Additional Comments:

n/a



Text Being Read:

Author:

Samuel Ogden

Title:

[Sermons]

Genre:

Sermon

Form of Text:

Print: Unknown

Publication Details

n/a

Provenance

unknown


Source Information:

Record ID:

21770

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:

913

Additional Comments:

n/a

Citation:

James Boswell, R.W. Chapman (ed.), Life of Johnson, (Oxford, 1980), p. 913, http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=21770, accessed: 02 March 2021


Additional Comments:

originally published 1791.

   
   
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