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By and large the literature of a democracy will never exhibit the order, regularity, skill, and art characteristic of aristocratic literature; formal qualities will be neglected or actually despised. The style will often be strange, incorrect, overburdened, and loose, and almost always strong and bold. Writers will be more anxious to work quickly than to perfect details. Short works will be commoner than long books, wit than erudition, imagination than depth. There will be a rude and untutored vigor of thought with great variety and singular fecundity. Authors will strive to astonish more than to please, and to stir passions rather than to charm taste.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859), French social philosopher. Democracy in America, vol. 2, pt. 1, ch. 13 (1840).

Posted on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 10:59 AM It's all about communication. , Personal | Back to top


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