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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 third 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 University 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 26 September, 6.30 - 7.45pm (doors open at 6.15pm) and will discuss Boswell's Life of Johnson.

For each meeting, a book will be chosen from a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, both eighteenth-century and modern, including Kate Chisholm's 'Wits and Wives' and of course James Boswell's monumental 'The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.'

A summer outing to Birmingham is envisaged.

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The Reading Circle is open to all, though booking is required.
Tickets: £50 for an annual subscription OR £10 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 26 September, 6.30pm (Extracts from Boswell's Life of Johnson (12 Apr-18 June 1776; 22 July-25 Nov 1777; 4-28 April 1778}
Suggested edition: Oxford World’s Classics, edited RW Chapman

Tuesday 05 December, 6.30pm (Jacqueline Riding, Jacobites)


Tuesday 23 January, 6.30pm (Kate Chisholm, Wits & Wives)

Tuesday 20 March, 6.30pm (Samuel Johnson, The Lives of the Poets: Milton, Dryden, Savage, Swift, Pope, Gray)
Suggested edition: Oxford World’s Classics

Tuesday 22 May, 6.30pm (Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder)

Tuesday 19 June, 6.30pm (Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield )

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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