A Good Burn: Bibliocide by Julian Baggini March 8, 2013 – Tags: ,

Julain Baggini begins his piece at aeon by asking the right question

No civilised person is supposed to make bonfires of books. ‘Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings,’ wrote the German poet Heinrich Heine in the century before Nazism. Burning books is a sacrilegious act, and the taboo against it particularly binds writers. So what was I doing in a Somerset field lighting a match under the 32 volumes of the Encyclopædia Britannica?

He then explains his process and his dilemma in detail. In the end it is very difficult to see any reason why he shouldn’t have burned them. 

He goes on: “If any secular object deserves the status of the sacred, surely it is the book, which aside from all those practical innovations that feed, clothe, warm and heal us, is the most important human creation of all time. But technology is forcing us to reassess the value of the written word and the forms it takes.”

Before one gets all protective and sentimental remember this was a moldy, water-logged set that even the Etsyites wouldn’t touch to make something out of. It had completely served it function for Baggini and his family and had been rendered “valueless” by market forces.

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