Read Books on Fire: The Destruction of Libraries throughout History by Lucien X. Polastron Free Online
Book Title: Books on Fire: The Destruction of Libraries throughout History|
The author of the book: Lucien X. Polastron
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Reader ratings: 5.1
Edition: Inner Traditions
Date of issue: August 13th 2007
ISBN 13: 9781594771675
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 861 KB
Read full description of the books:
A historical survey of the destruction of knowledge from ancient Babylon and China to modern times
• Includes the three separate destructions of the Library of Alexandria as well as many equally significant collections around the world
• Examines the causes of violence directed at repositories of knowledge
• Looks at the dangers posed by digitalization of books to the free availability of knowledge in the future
Hebrew, Hindu, Nordic, and Islamic traditions share the belief of a vast library existing before the creation of the world. The Vedas say that this library predated the creator’s creation of himself. Yet, almost as old as the idea of the library is the urge to destroy it. The reasons cited for this are many: educated people are much harder to govern, and some proclaim that only the illiterate can save the world. There are also great destructions brought about by weather, worms, and even the paranoia of the library’s owner.
Books on Fire traces the history of this perpetual destruction from the burning of the great library of Alexandria (on three separate occasions) and the libraries of the Chinese Qing Dynasty to more modern catastrophic losses such as those witnessed in Nazi-occupied Europe and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The author examines the causes for these disasters, the treasures that have been lost, and where the surviving books, if any, have ended up. His investigation also reveals a new danger facing libraries today with the digitalization of books threatening both the existence of the physical paper book and the very idea of reading for free. The promise of an absolute library offered by the computer may well turn out to equal the worst nightmares of Ray Bradbury, Aldous Huxley, and George Orwell.
Books on Fire received the 2004 Société des Gens de Lettres Prize for Nonfiction/History in Paris.
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Read information about the author- Born in 1944 from Gascony families.
- Classical studies and first articles published (about medieval architecture, and after spending days in research libraries).
- Deputy chief editor at Maisons d’hier et d’aujourd’hui monthly magazine in 1966.
- Early in the seventies, works for modern art and architecture press.
- First trip to China in 1976, learns Chinese and starts reporting about Chinese cultural history then Japan.
- Begins practicing Chinese calligraphy and devotes himself to studying paper workmanship in Asia. Starts writing a huge history of paper.
- 1992: the destruction of the National Library in Sarajevo triggers his systematic research into destruction of libraries as he had already encountered several such events while working on paper history.
- End of the nineties: to complete his knowledge begins visiting Middle-East, mainly Egypt, starts learning Arabic, classical, colloquial, and calligraphy.
- 2003: 55th stay in China, 21st in Japan, 8th in Alexandria. Lives and works in Normandy.