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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

There Really Is Nothing New Under The Sun

Let Them Eat Prose ( From the October 1886 issue of Harpers - "Now we are not trying to defend the necessity of reading. They say that people got on in the Middle Ages very well without much of it, and that the women then were as agreeable, and the men as brave and forceful, as in this age. But it is certainly interesting to consider whether, by reason of cheap and chopped-up literary food, we are coming round practically to the Middle Ages relative to reading, that is, to reading anything except what is called news, or ingenious sorts of inventions and puzzles which can be talked about as odd incidents in daily life are talked about. Reading to any intellectual purpose requires patience and abstraction and continuity of thought. This habit of real reading is not acquired by the perusal of newspapers, nor by the swift dash which most people give to the cheap publications which are had for the picking up, and usually valued accordingly. "


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