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

Reading Experience Database UK Historical image of readers

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James Grahame : Sabbath, The

'On 7 Aug. 1805 the Wordsworths told Lady Beaumont that "We have just read a poem called the Sabbath written by a very good man in a truly christian spirit ... "'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Wordsworth Family     


James Grahame : Birds of Scotland

'W[ordsworth] copied out seven lines of Grahame's poem [Birds of Scotland] in a letter to Lady Beaumont of Dec. 1806, written at Coleorton, commending it as "exquisite".'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: William Wordsworth      


Kenneth Grahame : The Wind in the Willows

For some reason we were never confronted with the famous animal books in childhood -neither "The Wind in the Willows" nor "Winne-the-Pooh", nor any Beatrix Potter -and when I did meet the works of Kenneth Grahame and A.A. Milne, at the age of twelve or thirteen, I was past them to the extent that I read from a height, like a connoisseur, with no involvement, accepting with sophistication rather than naivety the clothing, the speecg and the human motives of the animals.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Patricia Beer      Print: Book


Kenneth Grahame : [probably The Wind in the Willows etc]

'Marjory Todd read [the books of Hesba Stretton, Mrs O.F. Walton and Amy le Feuvre but felt later that] "I would not now willingly expose a child of mine to the morbid resignation of any of these books... yet I think that children, when their home life is secure and happy, can take a lot of that debilitating sentiment... We sharpened our teeth on this stuff and then went on to greater satisfaction elsewhere", including "Pride and Prejudice", "Jane Eyre", "Alice in Wonderland", Captain Marryat, Kenneth Grahame, and E. Nesbit'.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Marjory Todd      Print: Book


Kenneth Grahame : Dream Days

[List of books read in 1943, in diary for 1943]: 'The Farthing Spinster; Guy Mannering; Whereas I was Blind; And So to Bath; The Story of San Michele; Attack Alarm; The Murders in Praed Street; Lover's Meeting; The Secret Battle; Witch Wood; MD - Doctor of Murder; Murder at the Keyhole; That Girl Ginger; Ten Minute Alibi; Diary of a District Officer; Tarzan the Untamed; Peter Abelard; Pip; Pied Piper; A Man Lay Dead; Random Harvest; Madame Curie; Stalky and Co; Bellarion; Down the Garden Path; The Three Musketeers vol 1; The House in Cornwall; A Tall Ship; The Two Saplings; Farewell Victoria; Quinneys; House of Terror; Penguin Parade 4; Guy Mannering[presumably a re-reading]; The Man Born to be King; Casterton Papers; Old Saint Paul's; The Moon is Down; 1066 and all That; My Brother Jonathon; Gulliver's Travels; Ensign Knightley; Men Against Death; Fame is the Spur; Gone with the Wind; Mesmer; First Nights; The Hound of the Baskervilles; Little Gidding; Beau Geste; Beau Sabreur; The Amazing Theatre; The Pleasure of Your Company; Dandelion Days; Humour and Fantasy; Juno and the Paycock; The Beautiful Years; Teach Yourself to Think; Salar the Salmon; The Cathedral; The Mysterious Mr I; The Picts and the Martyrs; The Dream of Fair Women; The Star-born; Three Short Stories; A Thatched Roof; The Surgeon's Log; The Healing Knife; Nine Ghosts; While Rome Burns; The Star Spangled Manner; The Day Must Dawn; The Tower of London; Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; The Old Man's Birthday; A little Princess; Ego 5; The Lighter Side of School Life; Kidnapped; The Trail of the Sandhill Stag; Ballet Lover's Notebook; Lorna Doone; The Plays of JM Barrie; Jane Eyre; I'll Leave it to You; Henry Fifth; Longer Poems; Antony and Cleopatra; The Man in Grey; The House in Dormer Forest; The Writing of English; Miss Mapp; The Song of Bernadette; Happy and Glorious; Sixty Poems; The Birth of Romance; The Comedy of Life; Some Little Tales; Dream Days; Royal Flush.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Hilary Spalding      Print: Book


Grahame : History of America

Fanny Kemble, 9 October 1832: 'I have begun Grahame's "History of America", and like it "mainly," as the old plays say'.

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Fanny Kemble      Print: Book


Kenneth Grahame : The Wind in the Willows

'I had not heard of "Wind in the Willows" until I read it during the summer holiday of my seventeenth year!'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Norman Nicholson      Print: Book


Kenneth Grahame : Golden Age

His reading this summer included much Browning, Turgenev's Smoke and Kenneth Grahame's Golden Age ('which surely is the most beautiful book published for many years').

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: John Buchan      Print: Book


James Grahame : Sabbath, The

'I received yours yesternight with the poem of [italics] the Sabbath [end italics], a good part of which I have already perused and have concluded that the Cameronian hath more in his head than hair'.

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: James Hogg      Print: Unknown


Kenneth Grahame : unknown

'My mother started to read to me when I was very young indeed. She read aloud beautifully and never got tired, and she would never, from the first, read anything that she could not enjoy herself, which cut out all the poor quality writing which every right-minded child loves when he can get it. Her only concession was one weekly comic, "Rainbow". But apart from that, I was reared on a fine mixed diet of Beatrix Potter, A.A. Milne, Dickens, Stevenson, Hans Andersen, Kenneth Grahame and Kipling – especially Puck of Pook’s Hill whose three magnificent stories of Roman Britain were the beginning of my own passion for the subject, and resulted in the fullness of time in The Eagle of the Ninth. Hero myths of Greece and Rome I had, in an unexpurgated edition which my mother edited herself as she went along, and Norse and Saxon and Celtic legends. There were Whyte Melville’s The Gladiators and Bulwer Lytton’s Last Days of Pompeii and Weigal’s Egyptian Princess; for my mother loved historical novels – history of any kind, though her view of it was always the minstrel’s rather than the historian’s.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Rosemary Sutcliff      Print: Book


Kenneth Grahame : The Wind in the Willows

'The ... grandiloquent "education programme" we were able to satisfy sufficiently. A number of the "boys" were barely literate and Miss Nettleton could deal with the three R's. Some of them were not at all too old to sit around her on the floor like children while she read them Treasure Island or The Wind in the Willows: this could be counted as an hour of "English".'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Irene Nettleton      Print: Book


Kenneth Grahame : The Wind in the Willows

'Meeting held at 22 Cintra Avenue 10.3.41 F. E. Pollard in the Chair.
1. The minutes of the last meeting were read and signed.
3. Violet Clough read an exceedingly interesting paper on “Children’s Literature” showing the was it has developed from the “Moral Tales” of Maria Edgeworth published at the beginning of the 19th. Century, to the delightful tales by Beatrix Potter & A. A. Milne which are read today. The one retrogressive step she thought was in the binding of the books, which today seem to come to pieces almost at once. All the mothers present agreed with this, so it is no reflection on the Clough children in particular although it may be on the modern child in general.
4. Readings from children’s literature were then given as follows: Labour Lost from the Rollo Books. Selected by S. A. Reynolds & read by A. B. Dilks.
“The Fairchild Family” by Mrs. Sherwood read by Mrs. Pollard – this was particularly gruesome.
“Little Women” by Louisa Alcott read by Mary Stansfield.
Divers examples of children[’]s poetry read by Rosamund Wallis, which included an impromptu recitation by Howard Smith of one of Hillair[e] Belloc’s Cautionary Tales.
“Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carrol[l] read by F. E. Pollard.
“Samuel Whiskers” by Beatrix Potter read by Muriel Stevens.
“The Sing Song of Old Man Kangaroo” a Just So Story by Rudyard Kipling, read by Howard Smith.
“The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame read by Margaret Dilks.
“The House at Pooh Corner” by A. A. Milne, read by A. B. Dilks.
5. Bruce Dilks sang two of Fraser-Simsons settings of A. A. Milne’s Poems. “Christopher Robin Alone in the Dark” and “Happiness”.

[Signed as a true record of the meeting by] S. A. Reynolds April 7th / 41'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Margaret Dilks      Print: Book


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