15.223 reading in bed

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Thu Sep 06 2001 - 03:04:05 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 223.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

       [1] From: Dominik Wujastyk <ucgadkw@ucl.ac.uk> (13)
             Subject: Re: 15.221 bedside and in-tub reading?

       [2] From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk> (22)
             Subject: being in bed

             Date: Thu, 06 Sep 2001 07:56:53 +0100
             From: Dominik Wujastyk <ucgadkw@ucl.ac.uk>
             Subject: Re: 15.221 bedside and in-tub reading?

    On Wed, 5 Sep 2001, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:
    > Date: Wed, 05 Sep 2001 06:53:20 +0100
    > From: jod@ccat.sas.upenn.edu (James J. O'Donnell)
    > >
    > Gazing upon the stack that threatens to topple over and crush me in my
    > sleep, I wonder when the practice of reading in bed became commonplace.

    Somewhere along the academic road I picked up the notion that Descartes
    spent his scholarly life in bed, doing both his reading and writing there.

    The technologies for non-electric illumination are simple, effective, and
    very ancient. And still in wide use. Oil lamps, gas lamps, candles,
    torches, etc.


             Date: Thu, 06 Sep 2001 07:57:18 +0100
             From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
             Subject: being in bed

    Jim O'Donnell's question about reading in bed in relation to the technology
    of lighting prompts reflection on the technology of heating and a fair bit
    of social history as well. During the winter months in poorly heated houses
    (or palaces) one can suppose that time might be spent in bed simply to keep
    warm, or that the distinction between being in bed and not (though
    thoroughly covered up) might be less sharp than it tends to be now. A
    hundred years ago, in the house where I write this (which would have been
    quite crowded by modern standards), if I needed privacy to read during
    winter after about 4 p.m. I'd likely have to be in the bedroom and need
    artificial light. If one could read, had books, were in a cold climate
    during winter and in darkness for a significant part of the day, one would
    read in bed by candle- or lamp-light, no? In other words, the question he
    asks is a complex and interesting one.

    I'd think that proximity searching through the various textual databases,
    for "bed" near to "read" (or equivalents in other languages), would yield


    Dr Willard McCarty / Senior Lecturer /
    Centre for Computing in the Humanities / King's College London /
    Strand / London WC2R 2LS / U.K. /
    +44 (0)20 7848-2784 / ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/

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