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Record 1051

Reading Experience:

'by age twenty [Mary Smith] had read and understood George Payne's Elements of Mental and Moral Science, Thomas Brown's Moral Philosophy, and Richard Whateley's Logic. But two authors in paticular offered magnificent revelations. First there was Emerson on Nature; and later, as a governess for a Scotby leatherworks owner, she discovered Thomas Carlyle: "Emerson and he henceforth became my two great masters of thought for the rest of my life. Carlyle's gospel of Work and exposure of Shams, and his universal onslaught on the nothings and appearances of society, gave strength and life to my vague but true enthusiasm. They proved a new Bible of blessedness to my eager soul, as they did thousands beside, who had become weary of much of the vapid literature of the time".'
Century: 1800-1849
Date: Between 1822 and 1842
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:Mary Smith
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Female
Date of Birth 1822
Socio-economic group: Clerk / tradesman / artisan / smallholder
Occupation: shoemaker's daughter, later governess
Religion: Nonconformist
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: Thomas Brown
Title: Moral Philosophy
Genre: Philosophy
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: unknown


Source Information:

Record ID: 1051  
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: 45
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: Jonathan Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (New Haven, 2001), p. 45,, accessed: 07 December 2023

Additional comments:

See Mary Smith, 'The Autobiography of Mary Smith, Schoolmistress and Nonconformist' (London, 1892).



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