Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 221.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Date: Wed, 05 Sep 2001 06:53:20 +0100
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (James J. O'Donnell)
Subject: "bedside literature"
Gazing upon the stack that threatens to topple over and crush me in my
sleep, I wonder when the practice of reading in bed became commonplace.
My *assumption* is that it requires electric light. OED finds "bedside"
of books and literature in a citation from the Cornhill Magazine in 1920.
Any good indications earlier?
Part of this is idle curiosity, but the deeper question is the
commodification of literary consumption -- when did reading become
something you did for idle distraction? It was said, when Oxford
University was introducing an honors syllabus in English literature in the
1930s, that such a program was unnecessary because the students could read
novels in their baths (presumably the tubs set up on the floor in their
Oxford rooms and filled by scouts toting buckets of "hot" water to fill
them) -- so when did bath-reading become common?
Classics, U. of Penn
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