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
  RED International Logo

RED Australia logo


RED Canada logo
RED Netherlands logo
RED New Zealand logo

Record Number: 21438


Reading Experience:

Evidence:

Elizabeth Gaskell to John Forster, on presentation of inscribed copy of Tennyson's poems to Samuel Bamford, 7 December 1849: 'I have not yet taken my bonnet off after hunting up Bamford. First of all we went to Blakeley to his little white-washed cottage. His wife was cleaning, and regretted her "master" was not at home. He had gone into Manchester [...] At last we pounced upon the great gray stalwart man coming out of a little old-fashioned public-house where Blakeley people put up. Whe I produced my book he said, "This is grand." I said, "Look at the title-page," for I saw he was fairly caught by something he liked in the middle of the book, and was standing reading it in the street. "Well, I am a proud man this day!" he exclaimed. Then he turned it up and down and read a bit (it was a very crowded street) and his gray face went quite brown-red with pleasure. Suddenly he stopped. "What must I do for him back again?" "Oh! you must write to him, and thank him." "I'd rather walk 20 mile than write a letter any day." "Well then, suppose you set off this Christmas, and walk and thank Tennyson." He looked up from his book, right in my face, quite indignant. "Woman! walking won't reach him. We're on the earth don't ye see, but he's there, up above. I can no more reach him by walking than if he were an eagle or a skylark high above my head." It came fresh, warm, straight from the heart, without a notion of making a figurative speech [...] Then he dipped down again into his book, and began reading aloud the "Sleeping Beauty," and in the middle stopped to look at the writing again. And we left him in a sort of sleep-walking state, and only trust he will not be run over.'

Century:

1800-1849

Date:

7 Dec 1849

Country:

England

Time

n/a

Place:

city: Manchester
other location: street

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:

Samuel Bamford

Age:

Adult (18-100+)

Gender:

Male

Date of Birth:

1788

Socio-Economic Group:

Labourer (non-agricultural)

Occupation:

Writer / former hand-loom weaver

Religion:

n/a

Country of Origin:

England

Country of Experience:

England

Listeners present if any:
e.g family, servants, friends

n/a


Additional Comments:

n/a



Text Being Read:

Author:

Alfred Tennyson

Title:

'The Sleeping Beauty'

Genre:

Fiction, Poetry

Form of Text:

Print: Book

Publication Details

n/a

Provenance

owned


Source Information:

Record ID:

21438

Source:

Print

Author:

Hallam Tennyson

Editor:

n/a

Title:

Alfred Lord Tennyson: A Memoir by His Son

Place of Publication:

London

Date of Publication:

1897

Vol:

1

Page:

284-285

Additional Comments:

n/a

Citation:

Hallam Tennyson, Alfred Lord Tennyson: A Memoir by His Son (London, 1897), 1, p. 284-285, http://can-red-lec.library.dal.ca/Arts/RED/record_details.php?id=21438, accessed: 01 October 2023


Additional Comments:

On 8 Oct 1849, Gaskell wrote to Forster to tell him of how she had heard that Bamford knew many of Tennyson's poems by heart, and recited them to himself for comfort when he could not sleep at night. She went on to relate: 'I asked him the other day if he had got them of his own. "No," he said rather mournfully: he had been long looking out for a second-hand copy, but somehow they had not got into the old book-shops, and 14s or 18s (which are they) was too much for a poor man' (p.283 in source). Forster complied with Gaskell's subsequent request that he ask Tennyson to buy and sign a copy of the Poems for Bamford; Tennyson wrote back to Forster with his consent to the plan, also remarking: 'I reckon his [Bamford's] admiration is the highest honour I have yet received' (p.284 in source). See pp.285-86 for Bamford's own letter of thanks to Tennyson.

   
   
Green Turtle Web Design