‘Tis to rebuke a vicious taste which has crept into thousands besides herself,—of reading straight forwards, more in quest of the adventures, than of deep erudition and knowledge which a book of this cast, if read over as it should be, would infallibly impart with them.—The mind should be accustomed to make wise reflections, and draw curious conclusions as it goes along; the habitude of which made Pliny the younger affirm, “That he never read a book so bad but he drew some profit from it.” . . . It is a terrible misfortune for this same book of mine, but more so to the Republick of Letters;—so that my own is quite swallowed up in the consideration of it,–that this self-same vile pruriency for fresh adventures in all things, has got so strongly into our habit and humours,—and so wholly intent are we upon satisfying the impatience of our concupiscence in this way,—that nothing but the gross and more carnal parts of a composition will go down:—The subtle hints and sly communications of science will fly off, like spirits, upwards;—the heavy moral escapes downwards; and both the one and the other are as much lost to the world, as it they were still left in the bottom of the ink-horn.
—Laurence Sterne, (The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, p.49)
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