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Record 19522

Reading Experience:

Elizabeth Barrett to Robert Browning, letter postmarked 1 October 1845: 'I have read to the last line of your Rosicrucian; & my scepticism grew & grew through Hume's process of doubtful doubts, & at last rose to the full stature of incredulity .. for I never could believe Shelley capable of such a book, (call it a book!) not even with a flood of boarding-school idiocy dashed in by way of dilution. Altogether it roused me to deny myself so far as to look at the date of the book, & to get up & travel to the other end of the room to confront it with other dates in the "Letters from Abroad" [...] & on comparing these dates in these two volumes before my eyes, I find that your Rosicrucian was "printed for Stockdale" in [italics]1822[end italics], & that Shelley [italics]died in the July of the same year[end italics]!! And unless the "Rosicrucian" went into more editions than one, & dates here from a latter one [...] the innocence of the great poet stands proved -- now does'nt it? For nobody will say that he published such a book in the last year of his life, in the maturity of his genius, & that Godwin's daughter helped him in it!'
Century: 1800-1849
Date: Between 1 Sep 1845 and 1 Oct 1845
Country: England
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:Elizabeth Barrett Barrett
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Female
Date of Birth 6 Mar 1806
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: Writer
Religion: Evangelical
Country of origin: England
Country of experience: England
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: Percy Bysshe Shelley
Title: St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian: A Romance. By a Gentleman of the University of Oxford
Genre: Fiction, Astrology / alchemy / occult
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: First published 1811; read in apparently pirated 1822 edition printed London, for J. J. Stockdale
Provenance: unknown


Source Information:

Record ID: 19522  
Source - Print  
  Author: n/a
  Editor: Philip Kelley and Scott Lewis
  Title: The Brownings' Correspondence
  Place of Publication: Winfield
  Date of Publication: 1993
  Vol: 11
  Page: 106
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: Philip Kelley and Scott Lewis (ed.), The Brownings' Correspondence (Winfield, 1993), 11, p. 106,, accessed: 19 August 2019

Additional comments:

In letter postmarked 2 October 1845, Browning replied to Barrett: 'Let us hope against hope in the sad matter of the novel -- yet, yet, -- it IS by Shelley, if you will have the truth -- as I happen to [italics]know[end italics] -- proof [italics]last[end italics] being that Leigh Hunt told me he unearthed it in Shelley's own library at Marlow once, to the writer's horror & shame [...] As for the date, that Stockdale was a notorious pirate and raker-up of rash publications .. and, do you know, I suspect the [italics]title-page[end italics] is all that boasts such novelty, .. see if the [italics]book[end italics], the inside leaves, be not older evidently! -- a common trick of the trade, to this day' (see p.108 in source).



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)