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The last man who knew everything

"Readers will naturally ask how it was possible for one man to accumulate such a wide and various mass of knowledge, and to distill it into millions of published words. The two activities cannot be understood independently; in the age of instant publication via the internet it has become a cliché, but Baring-Gould seems to have been the sort of person who really did go through life without ever having an unpublished, or at least unwritten, thought. He wrote compulsively, with an almost inhuman energy, sitting down — or rather getting up: He was an early proponent of the standing desk phenomenon — to work every day and not leaving off until he felt he had finished. His daily quota was invariably one complete chapter, which often meant as much as 3,000 words. When he had completed a book, he would make his own fair copy and send it off to the publishers. Within a week he would be working on something else. It was this need to write that seems to have been the driving force behind his reading as much as his insatiable curiosity."