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

Reading Experience Database UK Historical image of readers
 
 
 
 

Record Number: 30563


Reading Experience:

Evidence:

'Meeting held at 22 Cintra Avenue, Northcourt Avenue, 25th April 1945
    F. E. Pollard in the chair.

[...]

2. The minutes of the last meeting were read & signed.

5. Alice Joselin introduced the subject of the evening with a biographical study of the Brontë family. Contrary to her expressed idea that she could do little more than recite a list of dates, Alice Joselin drew for us a vivid picture of the life at Haworth Rectory and the way in which the three sisters took the literary world by storm.

6. After adjourning for refreshment we turned our attentions to a study of the works of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë. First Margaret Dilks read from “Vil[l]ette” the description of Mme. Rachel, the famous actress. Since this passage is the only contribution Charlotte Brontë is allowed to make to the Oxford Book of English Prose, it is presumably considered great by someone who should be qualified to judge. But when the reader had finished, the only audible comment from this learned gathering was “Can someone tell me what all that means?”

7. F. E. Pollard then gave us the benefit of his discerning criticism of the works of these writers. Describing himself as of a naturally romantic & sentimental turn of mind (cheers and prolonged applause) he championed Jane Eyre and Shirley. There followed a lively discussion in which nearly all members took part. The excessive wordiness of which both Emily & Charlotte are sometimes guilty, was attributed to the bad influence of the continent on the Englishman’s [sic!] natural restraint. Several members of the fair sex expressed a distaste for the horrors of Wuthering Heights, one even going so far as to suggest that the author was probably mad. Cyril Langford, reading from a newspaper article, put forward an interesting theory that the book was the natural psychological reaction of one whose life was mainly occupied in household duties; and Thomas Hopkins crowned all by telling us that he had once been presented with Wuthering Heights as a Sunday School prize. Cyril Langford also drew our attention to Jane Eyre’s description of her own paintings, which were clearly the forerunners of surrealism. Other readings given were:-
Howard Smith from Wuthering Heights[,]
Rosamund Wallis from Shirley[,]
& Howard Smith from The Gondal Poems[.]'

Century:

1900-1945

Date:

Until: 25 Apr 1945

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:

several unnamed members of the XII Book Club

Age:

Unknown

Gender:

Unknown

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:

n/a

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

n/a


Additional Comments:

n/a



Text Being Read:

Author:

Emily Brontë

Title:

Wuthering Heights

Genre:

Fiction

Form of Text:

Print: Book

Publication Details

n/a

Provenance

unknown


Source Information:

Record ID:

30563

Source:

Manuscript

Author:

Margaret Dilks

Title:

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

Location:

private collection

Call No:

n/a

Page/Folio:

32–34

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, 32–34, http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=30563, accessed: 08 December 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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