Monday, September 26, 2011


Living on the Edge

Sir John Hawkins, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (London: Printed for J. Buckland et al., 1787), p. 560:
When retired to rest, he indulged himself in the dangerous practice of reading in bed.
Presumably the danger lay in the possibility of fire from a candle after the reader nodded off, but cf. Robert Darnton, The Kiss of Lamourette. Reflections in Cultural History (New York: W.W. Norton, 1990), pp. 171-172:
In a tract of 1795, J.G. Heinzmann listed the physical consequences of excessive reading: "susceptibility to colds, headaches, weakening of the eyes, heat rashes, gout, arthritis, hemorrhoids, asthma, apoplexy, pulmonary disease, indigestion, blocking of the bowels, nervous disorder, migraines, epilepsy, hypochondria, and melancholy."
Related post: Mega Biblion, Mega Kakon.

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