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Record 12877

Reading Experience:

'The individual...was a fellow-worker of mine for nigh two years in Dartmoor. He had, in his younger days, passed through the workhouse; read the pestilent literature of rascaldom which has educated so many criminal characters in this country; then graduated in the "School", and ultimately became a noted burglar. His reading in prison had been pretty extensive, while his intelligence would have insured him a position in society above that of a labouring man... I could not help looking upon it as a very novel experience, for even this grotesque world, to have to listen to a man who could delight in a literary discussion, quote all the choice parts of Pope's "Illiad", and boast of having read Pascal and Lafontaine in the original, maintain, in sober argument, that "thieving was an honourable pursuit", and that religion, law, patriotism and bodily disease were the real and only enemies of humanity.'
Century: 1850-1899
Date: unknown
Country: England
Time: n/a
Place: specific address: Dartmoor Prison (probably)
other location: in prison, probably in his cell
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:

Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Male
Date of Birth n/a
Socio-economic group: Labourer (non-agricultural)
Occupation: workhouse inmate/ juvenile deliquent/ burglar/ prisoner
Religion: Atheist
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: Jean de La Fontaine
Title: [unknown]
Genre: Poetry
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: borrowed (institution library)
probably from prison library


Source Information:

Record ID: 12877  
Source - Print  
  Author: Michael Davitt
  Editor: n/a
  Title: Leaves from a prison diary, or lectures to a 'solitary' audience
  Place of Publication: London
  Date of Publication: 1885
  Vol: 1
  Page: 13-14
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: Michael Davitt, Leaves from a prison diary, or lectures to a 'solitary' audience (London, 1885), 1, p. 13-14,, accessed: 23 April 2024

Additional comments:



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