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Reading: An Essay

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  9 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
1927. Walpole wrote horror novels that tended more towards the psychological rather than supernatural, with a brooding underlying mysticism. The book begins: It would be flattering to my intelligence were I able to make this Essay a learned and analytical description of any reader's proper mental processes. I have seen such books, books that point out so clearheadedly what ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published May 19th 2004 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1926)
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Mark
Aug 30, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
This book was bought for me by a friend for my birthday a few years ago. It is one of a series of essays edited by JB Priestley and published in a limited edition by Jarrolds publishers in 1926. It is a signed copy , one of a limited edition of 150, this is number 88. I only give all these details to attempt to express how wonderful was my experience last night as I re-read it.

The essay itself is divided into parts in which Walpole reflects on three aspects he sees as stages on a reading life;
...more
Scott
Nov 11, 2009 Scott rated it liked it
Shelves: 1920s, books
Walpole seeks to capture an impression of the ecstasy of reading in this short essay, penned in 1926. He traces his lifetime as a reader of books, from Lottie's Visit to Grandmamma, a primer that opened his vista to a world outside himself, through snobby intellectual tomes at college, and finally to the books he currently reads and collects for pleasure.

I was surprised by how few of the books Walpole read with such enjoyment are commonly studied or read today. The essay is littered with titles
...more
Paula
Oct 16, 2008 Paula rated it it was amazing
Honestly, this was a joy to read. Not only was it a great find of a free book, but it matches my sentiments (if not my own experiences) almost exactly when it comes to the joy of reading. Walpole's personal anecdotes are very funny and also about as telling as his library is in regards to his personal reading habits; he is candid and frank about his trials and errors in the futile attempt to reach literary erudition.

The book is divided into three sections that correspond to typical reading choic
...more
Corey
May 08, 2007 Corey rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: the common reader
This is a quite enjoyable little piece of bibliomania that I randomly picked up in a used book shop. I have never been so glad about an impulse buy! It was delightful, relateable (sic?), eloquent, amusing and intelligent. I highly recommend it to fans to Anne Fadiman's work. It is quite autobiographical but, despite coming from a gay man living in the 1920s, it still is perfectly applicable to today. I guess reading and readers haven't changed much in the ensuing decades, which is rather as ...more
Katelyn
Jan 04, 2016 Katelyn rated it liked it
Discovered this book in college while browsing in the stacks and thought it was a gem.

Reread in 2015. I love the language of this book and that it's written in the 1920s so when it references the 80s, it means the 1880s.
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Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole was an English novelist. A prolific writer, he published thirty-six novels, five volumes of short stories, two plays and three volumes of memoirs. His skill at scene-setting, his vivid plots, his high profile as a lecturer and his driving ambition brought him a large readership in the United Kingdom and North America. A best-selling author in the 1920s and 1930s, his works ...more
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