Postrell: Ray Bradbury RIP

The power of memory.

Ray Bradbury has died at 91. His most famous book, “Fahrenheit 451,” is about book-burning in a world where entertainment on wall-size screens (“parlor walls”) has replaced reading. Published in 1953, it’s a dystopia woven from a fear of television.

Its redemptive ending establishes another theme: the power of memory. The books aren’t gone. Their texts have been preserved in the memories of people who read them and will keep them alive until it’s safe to write them down again. One man has Plato’s “Republic,” another “Gulliver’s Travels,” another the book of Ecclesiastes. Books aren’t physical objects. They’re words that resonate and linger in the mind.

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