"Books have always a secret influence on the understanding, we cannot at pleasure obliterate ideas: he that reads books of science, though without any desire fixed of improvement, will grow more knowing; he that entertains himself with moral or religious treatises, will imperceptibly advance in goodness; the ideas which are often offered to the mind, will at last find a lucky moment when it is disposed to receive them."
Samuel Johnson, The Adventurer, No. 137, 26th February 1754
(quoted in John Brewer, The Pleasures of the Imagination, London 1997, p. 167)
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