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“Society is held together by communication and information.”

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source: The Life of Samuel Johnson, vol 3 (London: George Bell and Sons, 1884), 11.

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medium: biography

notes: Submitted by Neil Steinberg (thanks, Neil), with this note: The sentiment is prosaic, but what makes this quote interesting, to me, is that it appears in a late-18th century book (1791, or so, I believe). We think of our society as being so modern and such a departure from the past, yet when we look closely at the past, it becomes less different from today than we first thought. Johnson's big challenges—getting paid for writing, having his work copied and ripped off—would certainly resonate with any blogger. The copy of "Life of Johnson" I read had marginal notes by Mrs. Thrale, Johnson's contemporary, and so read almost like a comments section on-line.

“Newspapers are being read all around. The point is not, of course, to glean new information, but rather to coax the mind out of its sleep-induced introspective temper. To look at the paper is to raise a seashell to one’s ear and to be overwhelmed by the roar of humanity.”

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source: The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work (New York: Pantheon, 2009), 237.

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medium: nonfiction

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