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Record 5276

Reading Experience:

'There was a lending library in town, but with no education or guidance in English literature, [Edwin Muir] wasted valuable reading time. Then there was opposition from his father, who made him return a study of "the Atheist" David Hume. And when his brother gave him 3d to spend, he was almost insulted to learn that the money had gone to purchase Penny Poets editions of "As You Like It", "The Earthly Paradise" and Matthew Arnold. At home there was nothing to read except [various items mentioned in a previous entry and], "Gulliver's Travels", an R.M. Ballantyne tale about Hudson's Bay...a large volume documenting a theological dispute between a Protestant clergyman and a Catholic priest, a novel that was probably "Sense and Sensibility" ("I could make nothing of it, but this did not keep me from reading it")... "I read a complete series of sentimental love tales very popular at the time, called Sunday Stories", as well as a raft of temperance novels. Consequently, when he stumbled across Christopher Marlowe or George Crabbe in that literary junkyard, "it was like an addition to a secret treasure; for no one knew of my passion, and there was none to whom I could speak of it".'
Century: 1850-1899, 1900-1945
Date: Between 1891 and 1901
Country: Scotland
Time: n/a
Place: county: Orkney Islands
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:Edwin Muir
Age Child (0-17)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 15 May 1887
Socio-economic group: Labourer (agricultural)
Occupation: farmer's son, later poet
Religion: Protestant
Country of origin: Scotland
Country of experience: Scotland
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: George Crabbe
Title: n/a
Genre: Poetry
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: unknown


Source Information:

Record ID: 5276  
Source - Print  
  Author: Jonathan Rose
  Editor: n/a
  Title: The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes
  Place of Publication: New Haven
  Date of Publication: 2001
  Vol: n/a
  Page: 376
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: Jonathan Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (New Haven, 2001), p. 376,, accessed: 25 May 2020

Additional comments:

See Edwin Muir, 'The Story and the Fable' (1940), pp83-91



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