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: 30573


Reading Experience:

Evidence:

'Meeting held at Gower Cottage, 28th May 1945
    Elsie D. Harrod in the chair.

[...]

4. The subject of the evening was John Ruskin, and Faith Miller gave us a most comprehensive and absorbingly interesting account of his life, his writings and his ideals. So complete was this survey, of a man who wrote so much & lived such a long and full life, that your secretary finds it difficult, in writing this minute, to maintain her reputation for being brief and to the point! But suffice it to say that Faith Miller’s discourse drew forth one of those spontaneous burst of applause only accorded on rare occasions for contributions of outstanding worth.

5. Cyril Langford then read a passage from “On the Nature of Gothic” setting forth Ruskin’s principle that the working creature is either a man or a tool – he cannot be both. He followed this with part of a modern commentary on Ruskin by R. H Wilenski which stated quite simply that Ruskin could not write because his mind had been drugged from birth onward by the emotive language of the Bible. This heterodox statement aroused strong opposition but it also had some support and a lively argument ensued, and indeed it seemed that Diplomatic relations between members were in danger of being broken off, when came in a timely invitation to supper from our hostess and we were united once more in our appreciation of the excellent refreshments provided.

6. Muriel Stevens then revealed to us Ruskin’s theories on Art & Artists & we hope she did not feel discouraged by the fact that members were apparently far more interested in the reproductions she passed round than in what Ruskin had to say about them. She also read from Picasso on “Cubism”, but this was a realm into which few, if any of us, could follow her.

7. Bruce Dilks then spoke of Ruskin’s ideas on political economy & social reform. We heard how he advocated a system of national education and attacked a state whose system of economics was based solely on the acquisition of wealth.

8. Finally Francis Pollard read a passage from “Sesame and Lilies”, skilfully selected to prove once & for all that Ruskin could write & that in a clear, forceful manner readily understood by anyone of even average intellect.'

Century:

1900-1945

Date:

28 May 1945

Country:

England

Time

evening

Place:

city: Reading
county: Berkshire
specific address: Gower Cottage, Elm Road

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:

Faith Miller

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:

Faith Miller

Title:

[essay on John Ruskin: his life, his writings and his ideals]

Genre:

Essays / Criticism, Autobiog / Diary, Philosophy

Form of Text:

Manuscript: Unknown

Publication Details

n/a

Provenance

owned


Source Information:

Record ID:

30573

Source:

Manuscript

Author:

Margaret Dilks

Title:

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

Location:

private collection

Call No:

n/a

Page/Folio:

35–37

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, 35–37, http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=30573, accessed: 25 June 2024


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).

   
   
Green Turtle Web Design