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“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.

$3800.

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.”

Banned

by the Nazis in Germany and occupied regions from 1940 to 1945.

“While Helen Keller is better known for

The Story of My Life,

her later

book,

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.”

J

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.

20

BANNED BOOKS

Politics