Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Books in 1500

I came across an interesting article in the Boston Globe last week. The author, Ann Blair, writes about information overload as it ocurred in 1500 and how the attitudes then were not so different from the ones we are hearing about today. She states:

"But around 1500, humanist scholars began to bemoan new problems: Printers in search of profit, they complained, rushed to print manuscripts without attention to the quality of the text, and the sheer mass of new books was distracting readers from the focus on the ancient authors most worthy of attention. Printers 'fill the world with pamphlets and books that are foolish, ignorant, malignant, libelous, mad, impious and subversive; and such is the flood that even things that might have done some good lose all their goodness,' wrote Erasmus in the early 16th century, in the kind of tirade that might seem familiar to anyone exhausted by what they find online today."

"The sheer mass of books was distracting readers." As King Solomon once declared: "There is nothing new under the sun."

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