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

Reading Experience Database UK Historical image of readers
 
 
 
 

Record Number: 30446


Reading Experience:

Evidence:

'Meeting held at School House. 13th March 1944
    J. Knox Taylor in the chair.
1. The minutes of the last meeting were read and signed.

[...]

4. The chairman informed us that the committee had decided that Kenneth Nicholson’s discourse on ‘The Novel’ was likely to be sufficiently provocative, with interruptions and comments, to occupy the whole evening. They had therefore arranged a few readings from novels but no other 5 minute essays or speeches.

5. Kenneth Nicholson, protesting that he had most unwillingly, had this greatness thrust upon him, proceeded to expound the most interesting theory that the novel, as a form of literature, had been born in the middle of the 18th Century, flourished through the C19th and declined in the C20th. He held that although a great number of novels are still being written, they are of little worth and are being read less and less by persons of culture & discernment. For the rising generation, the wireless and the cinema have taken the place of the novel in providing such entertainment, & what reading they do, is of a much less serious nature.

A lively discussion took place both during and after Kenneth Nicholson’s discourse, in which many members both criticised and opposed his theories.

6. Frank Knight read from Wm. de Morgan’s “Alice for Short”. Although this book was written in 1907 the reading was much enjoyed, & many members confessed to a great liking for De Morgan’s novels.

7. Elsie Harrod read from “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier – an even more recent publication — and again our interest was caught and held.

8. It was getting late, and asked to cho[o]se, for the last reading, between “How Green was my Valley”, “Precious Bane” and “The ordeal of Richard Feverel” members chose the latter. By request, Knox Taylor read the well known love scene entitled ‘Ferdinand and Miranda’. This novel was written in 1859 when the art of novel-writing was (according to the theory laid down this evening) at its height. But somehow it touched our sense of humour instead of our deeper emotions, and Knox Taylor finding himself unable to finish the chapter, the meeting dissolved amid general laughter.'

Century:

1900-1945

Date:

13 Mar 1944

Country:

England

Time

evening

Place:

city: Reading
county: Berkshire
specific address: School House, Leighton Park School

Type of Experience
(Reader):
 

silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Type of Experience
(Listener):
 

solitary reactive unknown
single serial unknown


Reader / Listener / Reading Group:

Reader:

Elsie Harrod

Age:

Adult (18-100+)

Gender:

Female

Date of Birth:

n/a

Socio-Economic Group:

Professional / academic / merchant / farmer

Occupation:

n/a

Religion:

Quaker or associated with the Friends

Country of Origin:

n/a

Country of Experience:

England

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

Members of the XII Book Club


Additional Comments:

n/a



Text Being Read:

Author:

Daphne Du Maurier

Title:

Rebecca

Genre:

Fiction

Form of Text:

Print: Book

Publication Details

n/a

Provenance

unknown


Source Information:

Record ID:

30446

Source:

Manuscript

Author:

Margaret Dilks

Title:

XII Book Club Minute Book, Vol. 5 (1944-1952)

Location:

private collection

Call No:

n/a

Page/Folio:

5-8

Additional Information:

Margaret Dilks was secretary to the XII Book Club from 1940 to 1970. It is inferred from this, and from the handwriting, that she was the author of this set of minutes.

Citation:

Margaret Dilks, XII Book Club Minute Book, Vol. 5 (1944-1952), private collection, 5-8, http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=30446, accessed: 29 November 2021


Additional Comments:

Material by kind permission of the XII Book Club. For further information and permission to quote this source, contact the Reading Experience Database (http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/contacts.php).

   
   
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