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Record 13410

Reading Experience:

'I am much obliged by your present of The Monastery, which I have read, and which I must frankly confess I admire less than any of the others - much less. Such I think you will find the judgement of the public to be. The idea of painting ancient manners in a fictitious story and in well-known scenery is admirable, and the writer has admirable talents for it; but nothing is done without pains, and I doubt whether pains have been taken in The Monastery, - if they have, they have failed. It is quite childish to introduce supernatural agency; as much of the terrors and follies of supersition as you please, but no actual ghosts and hobgoblins. I recommend one novel every year, and more pains. So much money is worth getting; so much deserved fame is worth keeping, so much amusement we ought all to strive to continue for the public good. You will excuse my candour - you know I am your wellwisher. I was the first to praise Ivanhoe, as I shall be to praise the next, if I can do so conscientiously'.
Century: 1800-1849
Date: Until: 25 Mar 1820
Country: England
Time: n/a
Place: city: Foston
county: Yorkshire
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:Sydney Smith
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 3 Jun 1771
Socio-economic group: Clergy (includes all denominations)
Occupation: clergyman
Religion: Christian
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: Walter Scott
Title: The Monastery
Genre: Fiction
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: owned
present from Constable


Source Information:

Record ID: 13410  
Source - Print  
  Author: n/a
  Editor: Nowell C. Smith
  Title: The Letters of Sydney Smith
  Place of Publication: Oxford
  Date of Publication: 1953
  Vol: I
  Page: 350-1
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: Nowell C. Smith (ed.), The Letters of Sydney Smith (Oxford, 1953), I, p. 350-1,, accessed: 08 February 2023

Additional comments:

Letter to Archibald Constable



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