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Lock up your libraries

30 November 2013

Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.

Virginia Woolf

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2 Comments to “Lock up your libraries”

  1. Well said, Virginia!

    And thank goodness! The human mind, and the human spirit, can never be held down indefinitely!

  2. Lovely words, but let’s face it: nobody ever tried to lock up Virginia Woolf’s mind. She had the immense good luck to live in a society with a tradition of intellectual liberty going back two hundred years, and not (let us say) in Russia, where, if she had not been exiled to Siberia and silenced by the Tsar before the revolution, she would surely have been exiled to the Gulag and silenced by the Bolsheviks afterwards. (As George Orwell asked, ‘Is there a Gandhi in Russia at this moment? And if there is, what is he accomplishing?’)

    I would treat this remark more seriously if it came from someone like Solzhenitsyn or Sakharov – neither of whom ever said such a thing. As it is, I regret that I must file it under the heading, ‘He jests at scars that never felt a wound.’

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