“Reading While Enthroned”

Jan 21 2012 @ 2:10pm

Carl S. Pyrdum III marvels at the medieval origins of the bathroom reader seen below. Ian Sample recently explored the history of reading on the toilet:

The anonymous author of The Life of St Gregory couldn't help but notice that the toilet 489304180-347x500of the middle ages, high up in a castle turret, offered the perfect solitude for "uninterrupted reading"; Lord Chesterfield too saluted the benefits, recounting the tale of a man who used his time wisely in the "necessary house" to work his way through Horace. This was but the beginning.

No writer owned the arena of toilet reading more than Henry Miller. He read truly great books on the lavatory, and maintained that some, Ulysses for instance, could not be fully appreciated elsewhere. The environment was one that enriched substantial works – extracted their flavour, as he put it – while lesser books and magazines suffered. He singled out Atlantic Monthly.

Update from a reader:

I'm reading this on my iPad while enthroned.  The more things change …