“Come For A ‘Winter Hour’ Into My World”
14. KELLER, Helen.
The World I Live In.
New York, 1908. Octavo, original
gilt-stamped green cloth.
First edition of Keller’s most heartfelt book, with four photographic plates,
inscribed to American writer and diplomat Robert Underwood Johnson
referencing the name of his own poetry book, The Winter Hour: “To Mr
Johnson. Come for a ‘Winter Hour’ into my world. Helen Keller.”
by the Nazis in Germany and occupied regions from 1940 to 1945.
“While Helen Keller is better known for
The Story of My Life,
The World I Live In,
is a warmer, more intimate and more beau-
tiful work… She comes alive here, vividly and idiosyncratically, more
than in any other of her writings” (Oliver Sacks). Without rare dust
jacket. Front inner paper hinge split, repair to spine head, light wear
and mild toning to spine. Extremely good.
“History has taught you nothing
if you think you can kill ideas.”
osephGoebbels, NaziMinister for Popular
Enlightenment and Propaganda, had a
penchant for optics. Taking a cue from the
1817 initial German unification when demon-
strating students had burned anti-national
books at Wartburg Castle, Goebbels set about
organizing a “spontaneous” student-led liter-
ary purge. University students had been some
of the staunchest Nazis since the formation of
the party, so Goebbels had the tacit support
of the National Socialist German Students’
Association. At his instruction, local chap-
ters fed the publicity machine and provided
blacklists of “un-German” authors. Kindled
by public placards, anti-Jewish, pro-nation-
alist sentiment took hold. Beginning on May
10th, university students burned 25,000 vol-
umes in university towns across the coun-
try, swearing “fire oaths” off printed sheets
as they threw specific books into the fire.
Goebbels looked on approvingly as authors
as diverse as Ernest Hemingway, Albert
Einstein, Helen Keller, Sigmund Freud, and
Jack London were decried as Jewish and/or
degenerate. Helen Keller scathingly wrote in
response, “History has taught you nothing if
you think you can kill ideas.” The Nazis were
unmoved; when they began occupying coun-
tries, they instituted a uniform list of banned
books containing all of the works they had
burned in 1933 and hundreds more.