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: 28710


Reading Experience:

Evidence:

Charlotte Bronte to G. H. Lewes, 17 October 1850:

'Accept my thanks for some hours of pleasant reading. Balzac was for me quite a new author, and in making his acquaintance, through the medium of "Modeste Mignon" and "Illusions Perdues" you cannot doubt I have felt some interest.
At first I thought he was going to be painfully minute, and fearfully tedious; one grew impatient of his long parade of detail [...] but by-and-by, I seemed to enter into the mystery of his craft and to discover with delight where his force lay: is it not in the analysis of motive, and in a subtle perception of the most obscure and secret workings of the mind? Still admire Balzac as we may I think we do not like him. We rather feel towards him as towards an uncongenial acquaintance who is for ever holding up, in strong light, our defects, and who rarely draws forth our better qualities.
'Truly I like George Sand better. Fantastic, fanatical, unpractical enthusiast as she often is [...] George Sand has a better nature than M. Balzac her brain is larger her heart warmer than his. The "Lettres d'un Voyageur" are full of the writer's self, and I never felt so strongly as in the perusal of this work that most of her very faults spring from the excess of her good qualities [...] her mind is of that order which disastrous experience teaches without weakening or too much disheartening'.

Century:

1850-1899

Date:

Between 01 Jan 1850 and 17 Oct 1850

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:

Charlotte Brontë

Age:

Adult (18-100+)

Gender:

Female

Date of Birth:

21 Apr 1816

Socio-Economic Group:

Professional / academic / merchant / farmer

Occupation:

Writer

Religion:

n/a

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:

George Sand (pseud.)

Title:

Lettres d'un voyageur

Genre:

Fiction, Geography / Travel

Form of Text:

Print: Book

Publication Details

n/a

Provenance

borrowed (other)


Source Information:

Record ID:

28710

Source:

Print

Author:

n/a

Editor:

Thomas James Wise and John Alexander Symington

Title:

The Brontes: Their Lives, Friendships and Correspondence

Place of Publication:

Oxford

Date of Publication:

1980

Vol:

2:3

Page:

172-173

Additional Comments:

n/a

Citation:

Thomas James Wise and John Alexander Symington (ed.), The Brontes: Their Lives, Friendships and Correspondence, (Oxford, 1980), 2:3, p. 172-173, http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=28710, accessed: 23 May 2022


Additional Comments:

Source eds note that in letter to George Smith of 7 February 1853, Bronte 'states that she has not read the works of Balzac' (see p.172 n.1).

   
   
Green Turtle Web Design