There’s something reassuring in seeing that what appears an ‘issue’ today appeared equally so to people long ago. It puts the issue in perspective and makes it seem an eternal, pointless fuss. So, we lament the sloppiness of texting and emails and the general ‘carelessness of people’s communications nowadays’.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing also gives insights into how people communicated in the first half of the nineteenth century, the technology and protocols of staying in touch.

‘… frequently heard to regret the carelessness of people’s communication nowadays, ‘like writing on blotting-paper, all the words running into each other’, he would say.’

Source: Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters (London: Penguin Classics, 1986 (1866)), p. 60


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