Gross Reiterative Impressionism

ep thompson on the reductive dangers of digital history, 1971.

To boil down 20 instances to a line or two apiece must, after all, entail much selectivity and the suppression of much attendant evidence. The reader must still place his confidence in the historian who has decided that this feature only (and not all those others) of the evidence shall be singled out for remark: although he is not as much a victim as he is before the gross reiterative impressionism of a computer, which repeats one conformity ad nauseam while obliterating all evidence for which it has not been programmed.

— E.P. Thompson

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