Information overload ain’t so new

The following rather reminds me of how many people say they feel about the volume of information online, save that it’s from a novel first published in 1935:

He would prowl the stacks of the library at night, pulling books out of a thousand shelves and reading them like a madman. The thought of these vast stacks of books would drive him mad: the more he read, the less he seemed to know – the greater the number of books he read, the greater the immense uncountable number of those which he could never read would seem to be.

It’s from Thomas Wolfe’s Of Time and the River. It’s also another reminder that often trends which are expressed as something obviously widespread and new often have rather deep historical roots and, at the very least, rather more evidence is required to show that something new is going on.

One response to “Information overload ain’t so new”

  1. On the other hand, this was clearly someone exceptional with a huge appetite for information and an unusual response to it. Fast forward and the books don’t need to be pulled from the shelves.

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