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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 seventh year. It is an intimate after-hours reading group that meets regularly in the former home of Dr Samuel Johnson, led by an academic who specialises in the eighteenth century.

The Reading Circle has met for six years 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. Provisionally, all meetings other than outings will take place at Dr Johnson’s House, except the Zoom playreadings. Dr Jane Darcy 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 5 October to discuss Jenny Uglow’s Nature's Engraver. For each meeting, a book will be chosen from a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, both eighteenth-century and modern, including Ian Kelly’s Beau Brummel: The Ultimate Dandy and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, The Turkish Embassy Letters.

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£60 for an annual subscription which covers all meetings. OR £12 per session at the House (includes a complimentary glass of wine). £8 per play reading zoom session.

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 5 October                         Jenny Uglow, Nature’s Engraver, A Life of Thomas Bewick

Tuesday 7 December                      Ian Kelly*, Beau Brummell: The Ultimate Dandy


Tuesdays 18, 25 January and 1 February:        Winter playreading on zoom (text TBC)

Tuesday 8 March:                                         Horace Walpole, Selected Letters ed. Stephen Clarke*

April (Date TBC)                                           An outing to Strawberry Hill

Tuesday 10 May:                                         Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, The Turkish Embassy Letters

Tuesday 28 June:                              Richard Mabey, Gilbert White: a biography of the author of The Natural History of Selborne

Friday 29 July:                                             Summer Outing  (details TBC)

*Authors marked with an asterisk have been invited to join the session

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 has recently been 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 her great love for Dr Johnson. She has recently been researching the history of British seaside. Jane has lectured several times at Dr Johnson’s House and in 2015 set up Dr Johnson’s Reading Circle, now in its sixth year. Her 2013 book, Melancholy and Literary Biography, 1640-1816, takes Johnson as its central focus.

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