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Record 6624

Reading Experience:

''When I was seven years old [...] I was kept from chapel one Sunday afternoon by some ailment or other. When the door closed behind the other chapel-goers, I looked at the books on the table. The ugliest-looking of them was turned down open; and my turning it up was one of the leading incidents of my life. That plain, clumsy, calf-bound volume was "Paradise Lost";...there was something about Satan cleaving Chaos, which made me turn to the poetry; and my mental destiny was fixed for the next seven years.'
Century: 1800-1849
Date: Between 12 Jun 1810 and 11 Jun 1811
Country: England
Time: afternoon: Sunday
Place: city: Norwich
county: Norfolk
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:Harriet Martineau
Age Child (0-17)
Gender Female
Date of Birth 12 Jun 1802
Socio-economic group: Clerk / tradesman / artisan / smallholder
child of manufacturer
Occupation: child
Religion: Unitarian 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: John Milton
Title: Paradise Lost
Genre: Poetry
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: Smith, Elder, & Co,. 15 Waterloo Place, London
Provenance: owned
Copy owned by her family


Source Information:

Record ID: 6624  
Source - Print  
  Author: Harriet Martineau
  Editor: n/a
  Title: Harriet Martineau's Autobiography
  Place of Publication: London
  Date of Publication: 1877
  Vol: 1
  Page: 42
  Additional comments: Smith, Elder, & Co,. 15 Waterloo Place, London. Third edition. In 3 volumes.

Citation: Harriet Martineau, Harriet Martineau's Autobiography (London, 1877), 1, p. 42,, accessed: 02 February 2023

Additional comments:

Initial experience was silent & solitary, some of the subsequent reading was done with company present.



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