Light Reading for Intellectual Heavyweights

In ‘Light Reading’, Philip Waller will consider how various major figures, including Prime Ministers and Presidents, have chosen to relax by reading books, and whether their choices carry more significance than might appear. There are conflicts between what people feel they should read and what they do read. This tension is most acute between classics and best-sellers; yet these and other kinds of books are not without similarities. This talk—it is hoped— may cause the audience to reflect on their own reading habits.


Philip Waller is a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, where he has served as History Tutor from 1971 and has been Sub-Warden and Acting Warden. He is author of Writers, Readers, & Reputations: Literary Life in Britain 1870-1918 (2006; 2008), which, while heavyweight in scale (1181 pages!), and lauded as the ‘defining literary history of the period’, is consistently entertaining. Previously, he published books on urban history, religion and politics. He is a past editor of the English Historical Review.

Friday, October 12, 2018 at 2:45pm to 4:30am

Harry Ransom Center (HRC), Tom Lea Rooms, 3.206
300 21ST ST W, Austin, Texas 78705

Event Type

Academics, Arts & Humanities, World & Culture


College of Liberal Arts

Target Audience

Students, Staff, Faculty, Alumni, General Public


Free and Open to the Public

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