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On Thursday, May 1, 1783, with “the young Mr. (Edmund) Burke” present, Samuel Johnson remarked: “It is strange that there should be so little reading in the world and so much writing. People in general do not willingly read if they can have anything else to amuse them.” The word “reading” here does not mean, say, the reading of e-mails, which…

Above the staff computers in the fourth floor workroom, which is on the 1st floor and has been for months and months – the library has contractors – are two shelves of old and rather drab books.
We often find ourselves reaching up for some of these and taking one down to examine. To say why is not easy.
What we have is…