Thursday, March 17, 2011


Contempt for Books and Letters

Maynard Mack, Alexander Pope: A Life (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1986), p. 574 (on King George II):
In the words of his own vice-chamberlain [Lord Hervey] he
used often to brag of the contempt he had for books and letters; to say how he hated all that stuff from his infancy; and that he remembered when he was a child he did not hate reading and learning merely as other children do, upon account of the confinement, but because he despised it and felt as if he were doing something mean and below him.
Another, later George II said during a speech at the Al Smith Memorial Dinner in 2000, while pointing to William F. Buckley in the audience: "He wrote a book at Yale. I read one."

Charles Dickens, Bleak House, chap. XXI:
"Don't you read, or get read to?"

The old man shakes his head with sharp sly triumph. "No, no. We have never been readers in our family. It don't pay. Stuff. Idleness. Folly. No, no!"

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