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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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Johann Wilhelm von Goethe


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Johann Wilhelm von Goethe : The Sorrows of Young Werther

Robert Southey to Horace Walpole Bedford, 24 January - 18 February 1794: 'I need not tell you with what pleasure my frequent perusals of Werter have been attended. for six months I was never without it in my pocket — the character is natural. at least it appeared so when tried by the touch-stone of my own heart. yet there are some minds upon which this would operate differently. to use a vulgar proverb “what's one man's meet [sic] is another man's poison". I consider suicide as a crime — as heinous as irrevocable. if you can suppose a man without connections friends or relations, still suicide would not be justifiable. while there is a possibility that life can be of service to society it is criminal to die.'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Robert Southey      Print: Book


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