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Record 5295

Reading Experience:

'Derek Davies could not recall that his mother had ever read a book. His father, a die-caster in an automobile factory, read only local and sports papers and two novels a week - a Western or a detective thriller: "Yet quite unintentionally he gave me... a love of reading... He never seemed to vary the diet, he never discussed either the books he read or newspaper items, and he never urged me to read for myself... I... was soon reading everything he read. by the age of eleven or twelve I must have read a couple of hundred of his novels..." In addition to the newspapers and his father's novels, he consumed books for younger children and travel books for adults ("Tibet, I remember, was one passionate preoccupation"). He jumped from the "Wizard" and "Hotspur", which his parents considered "trash" to their twenty-two bound volumes of "The Illustrated New History of the 1914-18 War". "Undeterred by the fact that I had neither the space nor the money to embark on even the most modest layout, I consumed book after book on the building of model railways. Gradually, as I found out how to use the School Library and the Public Library, some degree of selection took place, but as nobody at school before the sixth form advised me what to read the selection remained distinctly erratic... At about fourteen... I read every word of T.E. Lawrence's 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom', although I had only the faintest glimmer of its real significance".'
Century: 1900-1945
Date: Between 1 Jan 1927 and 31 Dec 1935
Country: n/a
Time: n/a
Place: location in dwelling: home
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:Derek Davies
Age Child (0-17)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 1923
Socio-economic group: Labourer (non-agricultural)
Occupation: die-caster's son
Religion: n/a
Country of origin: n/a
Country of experience: n/a
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: [unknown]
Title: [detective thrillers]
Genre: Fiction
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: unknown


Source Information:

Record ID: 5295  
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: 377-8
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: Jonathan Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (New Haven, 2001), p. 377-8,, accessed: 22 February 2024

Additional comments:

See Derek Davies in Goldman, 'Breakthrough', pp.29-32



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