Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/18

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

so condemned in the United Kingdom. Those who would pursue the study farther afield, and extend their wishes beyond the four seas, will find all the aid they need or desire in Peignot's admirable Dictionnaire Critique, Litteraire, et Bibliographique des principaux Livres condamnés au feu, supprimés ou censurés Paris, 1806. To have extended my studies to cover this wider ground would have swollen my book as well as my labour beyond the limits of my inclination. I may mention that Hart's Index Expurgatorius covers this wider ground for England, as far as it goes.

Nevertheless, I may, perhaps, appropriately, by way of introduction, refer to some episodes and illustrations of book-burning, to show the place the custom had in the development of civilisation, and the distinction of good or bad company and ancient lineage enjoyed by such books as their punishment by burning entitles to places on the shelves of our fire-library. The custom was of pagan observance long before it passed into Christian practice; and for its existence in Greece, and for the first instance I know of, I would refer to the once famous or notorious work of Protagoras, certainly one of the wisest philosophers or sophists of ancient times. He was the first