I want to report a thoroughly (perhaps surreally) modern experience I had recently. First a little context. I've always been a zealous scholarly letter writer (to the point of once being cited in print as "personal communication, pp. 14 - 20"). These days few share my epistolary penchant, which is dismissed as a doomed anachronism. Scholars don't have the time. Inquiry is racing forward much too rapidly for such genteel dawdling -- forward toward, among other things, due credit in print for one's every minute effort. So I too had resigned myself to the slower turnaround but surer rewards of conventional scholarly publication. Until I came upon electronic mail: almost as rapid and direct and spontaneous as a telephone call, but with the added discipline and permanence of the written medium. I quickly became addicted, "logging on" to check my e mail at all hours of the day and night and accumulating files of intellectual exchanges with similarly inclined e epistoleans, files that rapidly approached book length
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