Monday, June 02, 2008

The not-so-good Doctor

Writing about Orlando Furioso the other day reminded me of a piece of advice I've been meaning to share since I picked up at the Samuel Johnson birthplace museum in Lichfield, Staffordshire, back in April: should you ever find yourself back in eighteenth-century London, you should not give into the temptation to lend Dr. Johnson any books. The museum's holdings include a handbound copy of John Hoole's translation of Orlando Furioso, which Hoole himself lent to Johnson . . . and on which Johnson promptly spilled tea.

I bet he read borrowed books in the bathtub, too.

1 comment:

  1. And broke the spines, and tore sections out also--he was notorious for the damage he did to the books he read, it was felt to be a sort of literalization of the way he intellectually tore the meat out of them!