Dwight on blogging?

May 12, 2004

This little quote from Timothy Dwight's posthumous essay on education, published in the early 19th century, was originally aimed at the Republic of Letters, the process through which educated people wrote each other, passed the letters around to their friends, and proved that they were indeed proper natural aristocrats by their ability to write and read elegant, intelligent, well-crafted prose.

That which is styled the Republic of Letters, is a real republic. Every member of it, has at all times claimed the right of giving his opinion concerning every subject which is brought into debate; and nothing more is usually required of him, by those who are interested in it, than that he should speak to the purpose.
In many ways blogging is the modern equivalent, complete to the way in which we measure other people's blogs by their ability to craft clear and, more importantly, interesting prose.

I find this intriguing because, as Jurgen Habermas argues, the republic of letters led to the creation of the bourgeois public sphere, a realm of communication and identity formation that mobilized the nascent middle classes into a political force and social influence. I wonder what sort of public sphere will emerge from blogging?

Posted by Red Ted at May 12, 2004 01:45 AM | TrackBack

You probably saw this link when I posted it on That Other Place, but for your readers: http://www.fredoneverything.net/GreySludge.shtml

Fred Reed on blogs...worth a look.

Posted by: DFH at May 12, 2004 08:53 AM
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