Book burning
(984 words)

The Oxford English Dictionary reports the first use of the term book-burning in a literal sense in 1892; “book-burner” is first attested in 1821. No equivalent term is attested in the early German dictionaries of Adelung, Campe, or Grimm. The first German uses date from the late 20th century, often referring to an auto-da-fé, a term that was current in France from the early 19th century and generally meant a book-burning. The alternative terms “biblioclasm” and “libricide” have recently been proposed for the public burnings of written materials by the executioner as an extreme case of cens…

Cite this page
Sauder, Gerhard, “Book burning”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 19 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160907

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