A Bad Month for Books by   Leah Price

Before 1850, when a Massachusetts manufacturer invented the paper bag, groceries were casually wrapped in newspapers or even in pages torn from books. Even after the middle of the nineteenth century, at which time wood pulp reduced the cost of papermakers’ raw materials as a replacement for linen, and the lifting of taxes—in Britain in particular—reduced the cost of the finished product even more dramatically, intellectuals continued to dismember books in times of scarcity. When Alberto Moravia and Elsa Morante holed up in a shepherd’s hut during World War II, they brought two books, the Bible and the Brothers Karamazov. After a couple of months they faced the choice of which to consign to their makeshift outhouse.6 After the war, the great Soviet literary theorist M. M. Bakhtin continued to use his own manuscripts to roll cigarettes.7 In between, German soldiers busily paved Russian streets with layers of encyclopedias, while their American counterparts turned irreplaceable volumes into munitions wadding and cartridge boxes.8


Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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