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Record 19174

Reading Experience:

Elizabeth Barrett to Mary Russell Mitford, 15 February 1845: 'I am not sorry you fell over "La veille Fille" [sic] at last -- & the "Physiologie" besides [...] remember that the "Fille" which is as disgusting a book as you represent it, was my "first fruits" of Balzac. I made my acquaintance with him in that iniquitous book, -- that beastly book -- for, as women, we cannot speak of it with too cogent an abhorrence. Is there any wonder that I made a vow deeply never to read a book by the writer of it any more. I did vow it. And it was a mere mistake of those librarians who are always making mistakes (but I forgive a thousand for the dear love of that one) which sent me "Le Pere Goriot" [...] I bore with him wonderfully; -- & began to sympathise so immorally besides, (as Mr Kenyon says of me) with the artistic power of the book, that I was tempted to throw my plummet down again into the depths of the artist's mind [...] I am struck just as you are, by this wonderful faculty of lifting up so high & clear above the social pollutions, which it is his delight to dabble in, images & creations most stainless & lovely. I do not say (or think) that such a faculty renders him less dangerous as a writer, -- but it is undeniably wonderful as a faculty, & proves him a poet .. minus, the sense of music.'
Century: 1800-1849
Date: unknown
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:Elizabeth Barrett
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Female
Date of Birth 6 Mar 1806
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: Writer
Religion: Evangelical
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: Honore de Balzac
Title: La vieille fille
Genre: Fiction
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: unknown


Source Information:

Record ID: 19174  
Source - Print  
  Author: n/a
  Editor: Philip Kelley and Scott Lewis
  Title: The Brownings' Correspondence
  Place of Publication: Winfield
  Date of Publication: 1992
  Vol: 10
  Page: 76
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: Philip Kelley and Scott Lewis (ed.), The Brownings' Correspondence (Winfield, 1992), 10, p. 76,, accessed: 09 December 2023

Additional comments:



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