On April 8, 1933, the Main Office for Press and Propaganda of the German Student Union proclaimed a nationwide “Action against the Un-German Spirit”, which was to climax in a literary purge or “cleansing” by fire.
On May 10, 1933, Nazi Germany staged an event unseen since the middle ages young German students from universities, which formerly had been regarded as among the finest in the world, gathered to burn over 25k books.
On April 6th, two days before the initial declaration, William Lyon Phelps of Yale University, who taught the first American University course on the Modern Novel shared the following thoughts on a public radio broadcast.
Why this speech?
Today, more than any other time, we are never alone. Between social media, music and video on demand services, email and cellphones, we are never alone.
Even so, what Phelps describes, about friends still holds true.
While we can still connect with most anyone, whenever we want, there still lacks a depth that we have in-person that we cannot have with digital-friends. That depth still holds with book-friends.
Movies are too short, DMs can’t convey depth. Book-friends are there with you for hours, and open a window into their lives on a level and complexity that no one would dare share on Facebook.
We always put our best foot forward on our social platforms, with books we see the real issues people struggle with.
About the image: Trinity College, Dublin