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Bi-monthly meetings, 6.30 - 7.45pm (doors open at 6.15pm)

Dr Johnson’s House cordially invites you to join Dr Johnson’s Reading Circle for its fifth year. An intimate after-hours reading group led by a prominent eighteenth-century academic, the Circle meets bi-monthly in the former home of Dr Samuel Johnson.

The Reading Circle will meet in the unique surroundings of 17 Gough Square to read and discuss fiction and non-fiction from, and about, the time in which Johnson lived. Dr Jane Darcy of King's College London will lead the meetings, which aim to encourage a convivial atmosphere and lively conversation on the themes of pre-selected texts.

Dr Johnson's House Library in the evening

The first meeting will take place on Tuesday 8 October, 6.30 - 7.45pm (doors open at 6.15pm) and will discuss Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews.

For each meeting, a book will be chosen from a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, both eighteenth-century and modern, including Henry Hitchings, Dr Johnson’s Guide to Life and William Cowper, Selected Poems

A summer outing to Brighton is envisaged.

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The Reading Circle is open to all, though booking is required.
Tickets: £60 for an annual subscription OR £12 per session (includes a complimentary glass of wine)

Tickets and subscriptions:

Choose ticket

Please note that refunds are offered only in exceptional circumstances.

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Dates of upcoming meetings and provisional reading list:


Tuesday 08 October        Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews

Tuesday 03 December    Henry Hitchings*, The World in Thirty-Eight Chapters, or Dr Johnson’s Guide to Life (2018)


Thursday 23 January     Jesse Norman*, Edmund Burke, The First Conservative Philosopher, Politician, Prophet (2013).
Please note the Thursday date.

Tuesday 10 March         William Cowper, Selected Poems (Fyfield)

Tuesday 19 May            Playreading Text TBC

Tuesday 23 June           Norma Clarke*, Brothers of the Quill

Most books can be purchased from Dr Johnson's House shop at each meeting and we are pleased to offer a 10% discount to attendees of the Reading Circle.

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Jane Darcy is a teaching fellow in the Department of Comparative Literature at King’s College London and also holds an honorary lectureship in the English Department at UCL. Her research interests are in the literature and culture of the eighteenth century and Romantic period. She has a particular interest in Jane Austen and is currently writing a book entitled ‘Jane Austen & Melancholy’ in which she considers, amongst other topics, Austen’s great love for Dr Johnson. Jane has lectured several times at Dr Johnson’s House and in 2015 set up Dr Johnson’s Reading Circle, now in its third year. Her 2013 book, Melancholy and Literary Biography, 1640-1816, takes Johnson as its central focus.

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