Reading Experience Database
1450-1945

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Record 21149

Reading Experience:

Evidence:
'Fielding being mentioned, Johnson exclaimed, "he was a blockhead :" and upon my expressing my astonishment at so strange an assertion, he said, "What I mean by his being a blockhead is, that he was a barren rascal." Boswell. "Will you not allow, sir, that he draws very natural pictures of human life?" Johnson. "Why, sir, it is of very low life. Richardson used to say, that had he not known who Fielding was, he should have believed he was an ostler. Sir, there is more knowledge of the heart in one letter of Richardson's than in all 'Tom Jones'. I indeed, never read 'Joseph Andrews.'" Erskine. "Surely, sir, Richardson is very tedious." Johnson. "Why, sir, if you were to read Richardson for the story, your impatience would be so much fretted that you would hang yourself. But you must read him for the sentiment, and consider the story as only giving occasion to the sentiment." I have already given my opinion of Fielding ; but I cannot refrain from repeating here my wonder at Johnson's excessive and unaccountable depreciation of one of the best writers that England has produced. "Tom Jones" has stood the test of publick opinion with such success as to have established its great merit, both for the story, the sentiments, and the manners, and also the varieties of diction, so as to leave no doubt of its having an animated truth of execution throughout.'
Century: 1700-1799
Date: Until: 6 Apr 1772
Country: n/a
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:Thomas Erskine
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 10 Jan 1750
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: solder, later Lord Chancellor
Religion: n/a
Country of origin: Scotland
Country of experience: n/a
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
n/a
Additional comments: n/a

 

Text Being Read:

Author: Samuel Richardson
Title: [novels]
Genre: Fiction
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: unknown

 

Source Information:

Record ID: 21149  
Source - Print  
  Author: James Boswell
  Editor: R.W. Chapman
  Title: Life of Johnson
  Place of Publication: Oxford
  Date of Publication: 1980
  Vol: n/a
  Page: 480
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: James Boswell, R.W. Chapman (ed.), Life of Johnson (Oxford, 1980), p. 480, http://can-red-lec.library.dal.ca/Arts/reading/recorddetails2.php?id=21149, accessed: 07 July 2022

Additional comments:

Originally published 1791.

 

 

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