From an interesting review of a new selection of Sofia Tolstoy's journals:
For Leo Tolstoy and his extended household, diaries were an early version of Facebook. Everyone had his or her own page, and most people were fanatical recorders of their own feelings. The great man himself kept voluminous diaries, making entries almost to the day of his death. His doctor, his secretary, his disciples, his children, and – most of all – his wife also kept journals.
I like the way this passage suggests a kind of continuity between the logorrheic journalling of people in the past and the writing that people now do online. The passage suggests that our current era is something other than simply debased and illiterate.