Friday, July 20, 2012

18th c. advice on reading in the toilet...

From a letter of the Earl of Chesterfield to his son, in 1747: I knew a gentleman, who was so good a manager of his time, that he would not even lose that small portion of it, which the calls of nature obliged him to pass in the necessary-house; but gradually went through all the Latin poets, in those moments. He bought, for example, a common edition of Horace, of which he tore off gradually a couple of pages, carried them to that necessary place, read them first, and then sent them down as a sacrifice to Cloacina: this was so much time fairly gained; and I recommend you follow his example. It is better than only doing what you cannot help doing at those moments; and it will make any book, which you shall read in that manner, very present in your mind. Really excellent advice, don’t you think?! :) (From Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books)

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