Quotes / Book Burning

"Every burned book or house enlightens the world; every suppressed or expunged word reverberates through the earth from side to side."

"Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education."
Alfred Whitney, Essays on Education

"To read too many books is harmful."
Mao Zedong

"For books are not absolutely dead things, but... do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as those fabulous Dragon's teeth; and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men. And yet on the other hand unless warriors be used, as good almost kill a Man a good Book; who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills Reason itself, kills the Image of God, as it were in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the Earth; but a good Book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life."
John Milton, Areopagitica

"Burning is no answer."
Camille Desmoulines, reply to Robespierre, January 7, 1794, on burning his newspaper Vieux Cordelier.

"What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages, they would have burned me. Now, they are content with burning my books."
Sigmund Freud, 1933

"The paper burns, but the words fly away."
Akiba ben Joseph

"...when you do become cemented into a position of power that rides on the suppression of human rights and universal freedoms, one of the important ways of demonstrating that all expression is ultimately under your control is with the unforgettable spectacle of a mass book burning. There is nothing like watching the last repositories of their culture, history and ideas being burned away to suck the spirit out of a repressed people."
Cracked, "8 Unexpected Downsides of the Switch to E-Books" (#4: Book Burnings Will Have Less Visual Impact)

Colonel Vogel: What is in the book? That miserable little diary of yours. [Slaps Henry with his glove] We have the map. The book is useless. And yet you come all the way back to Berlin to get it. Why. [Slap] What are you hiding? [Slap] What does the diary tell you that it does not tell us?
[Vogel goes to slap Henry again, but Henry grabs his wrist before he can do so and glares right into his eyes]
Professor Henry Jones: It tells me that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try reading books instead of burning them!

"After reading books and the like it is best to burn them or throw them away. Reading is for the Imperial Court, whereas the Way of the Samurai is death."

"When I started writing Naked Lunch, people offered their opinions. 'Disgusting' they said, 'pornographic,' 'unamerican trash', 'unpublishable.' Well, it came out in 1959 and it found an audience. Town meetings, book burnings, and an inquiry by the States Supreme Court. The book made quite a little impression."
William S. Burroughs on the movie trailer for Naked Lunch

When the Regime
commanded the unlawful books to be burned,
teams of dull oxen hauled huge cartloads to the bonfires.

Then a banished writer, one of the best,
scanning the list of excommunicated texts,
became enraged: he'd been excluded!

He rushed to his desk, full of contemptuous wrath,
to write fierce letters to the morons in power
Burn me! he wrote with his blazing pen
Haven't I always reported the truth?
Now here you are, treating me like a liar!
Burn me!
The Burning Of The Books, by Bertolt Brecht

"You will penetrate somebody today or I shall burn your wretched books in the yard!"
Atia, Rome

Sam: We need to find every single copy of those books and burn them!
Charlie: They're online now, so good luck with that.