Margaret Atwood holds a flamethrower in her hand and goals it at a ebook, which she has authored. The flame shoots out, however the ebook stays unhurt. Random House Publishing is utilizing this video to promote the fireproof version of considered one of its most well-known books “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Atwood wrote her well-known dystopian novel in 1985, making a world wherein spiritual fanatics take over the United States in a coup and set up a brand new God-fearing state known as Gilead, wherein ladies not have any rights.

Due to an environmental catastrophe, most ladies can not bear youngsters. The few who’re nonetheless in a position to achieve this are captured, robbed of their names, enslaved and saved in wealthy homes as maids. There, the grasp of the home rapes them so typically that they grow to be pregnant. If the being pregnant is viable, they need to carry the youngsters to time period and finally depart them to the mistress of the home. Abortions are punished by demise, as are secret amorous affairs — each heterosexual and gay ones. In 2017, the story was broadcast as a sequence, starring Elisabeth Moss, and it garnered quite a few awards.

Exposing inconvenient truths

The ebook has an open ending, but when the novel was printed, it hit many individuals to the core and continues to have such an affect, even amongst those that would have most well-liked that such a ebook had by no means been written. It is a mirror picture of non secular fanatics and reveals how backward and unrealistic the views of some individuals are who unfold their crude and harmful views amongst a big viewers. A ebook like it is a thorn within the facet for such individuals.

According to the American Library Association, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is among the many books most frequently banned in U.S. colleges — amongst different issues, for its “vulgar” and “sexually specific” content material and for “insulting Christianity.” Accusations that Margaret Atwood has repeatedly rejected. In a 2006 open letter to a college district that wished to ban the ebook, she wrote, “First of all, I’m struck by the comment, ‘insulting Christians.’ Nowhere within the ebook is the regime recognized as Christian. As far as sexual explicitness goes, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is much much less fascinated about intercourse than a lot of the Bible.”

A centuries-old phenomenon

The banning and destruction of inconvenient books and writings are intently linked to human historical past. The written phrase outlives the spoken, and so for hundreds of years — and to this present day — many individuals see written materials not solely as offering data but additionally view it as a risk.

As early because the third century, the Roman emperor Diocletian gave orders to burn the writings of Christians. The Christians themselves have been additionally lively in their very own proper — for instance, in accordance to the New Testament, the Apostle Paul, on his missionary journey to Ephesus, transformed the resident magi to Christianity, who then voluntarily carried their books to the pyre.

Book burnings in Germany

Book burnings are a really efficient means for rulers to show to the general public how dissenters are handled. The ebook burnings of the National Socialists after Adolf Hitler’s seizure of energy demonstrated this significantly clearly.

In May and June 1933, tens of hundreds of books and writings have been burned in an “motion in opposition to the un-German spirit” initiated by the Nazi German Student Union. The purpose was to destroy German-Jewish mental life.

Books continued to be burned in Germany after World War II. In the Fifties and Sixties, it was pulp journals and “trash literature,” together with even the youth journal “Bravo” that offered cautious sexual schooling to the youngsters of prudish post-war Germany.

Books nonetheless burned at present

In the US, Beatles data have been burned in 1966. In China, anti-communist and dissident books have been burned on pyres after the Communist Party took energy. In Chile, books by the writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez have been burned beneath the Pinochet regime, and in Muslim international locations, “The Satanic Verses” by Salman Rushdie have been destroyed for “blasphemy.” The “Harry Potter” novels have been the goal of Christian fanatics in a number of US states within the early 2000s and have been torched after being deemed to have content material relating to “witchcraft, Satanic stuff and directions for sorcery.”

Book burnings happen all around the world. Even now, in the course of the Russian battle on Ukraine, books are being burned as a part of the destruction of Ukrainian cultural identification.

Women’s energy over their our bodies

Whether Margaret Atwood’s ebook The Handmaid’s Tale has ever been publicly burned is unknown to the author, she mentioned in an interview with US public radio broadcaster NPR. Still, she mentioned, she and her writer wished to set an instance with the fireproof ebook version within the struggle in opposition to ebook bans and censorship.

The novel has offered thousands and thousands of copies, and its affect has been amplified by the TV sequence. Women’s rights activists around the globe drape themselves within the pink cloaks with the standard outsized white hoods, as worn by the novel’s protagonists, at demonstrations for his or her proper to abortion and self-determination. Recent protests have been directed in opposition to the US Supreme Court, which is on the verge of overturning a regulation on authorized abortion.

The flame-retardant version is being auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York, with the proceeds — anticipated to exceed $100,000 (€96,000) — going to the writers’ affiliation PEN America for its work selling free expression. At the annual PEN Gala in New York on May 23, author and actress Faith Salie, who moderated the night, mentioned, that the unburnable ebook “was made to face up to not solely the fire-breathing censors and blazing bigots, however precise flames — those they want to use to burn down our democracy.”

While Margaret Atwood has written a sequel of types to “The Handmaid’s Tale“ along with her 2019 “The Testaments,” followers of the tv sequence have had to accept an open ending on the finish of the 4 seasons to date. For these ready for the subsequent one, there’s excellent news. Work is already underway on Season Five of the TV sequence. However, the beginning date of the brand new season is just not but recognized.

The Sotheby’s public sale of the unburnable version of “The Handmaid’s Tale” ends on June 7.

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