Reading: danger in the making

POSTED: May 5, 2020

Rooting through a folder of quotations I came across this dire warning of the dangers novels pose to impressionable young women.

This does not seem that different from the dangers that video games pose to impressionable young men. Or women.

“Many young girls from morning to night, hang over this pestiferous reading, to the neglect of industry, health, proper exercise, and to the ruin both of body and of soul … the increase of novels will help to account for the increase of prostitution and for the numerous adulteries and elopements that we hear of in the different parts of the kingdom”

The quotation comes from Evils of Adultery and Prostitution, 1792.

I found it quoted in The Persistence of Reading: Governing Female Novel-Reading in Memoirs of Emma Courtney and Memoirs of Modern Philosophers, by Katherine Binhammer, Eighteenth-Century Life, Volume 27, Number 2, Spring 2003.