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Qin Shi Huangdi, the first Chinese emperor, ordered a mass destruction of books for fear of the Confucian ideas that they contained.

Bibliophobia is the fear or hatred of books.[1] Such fear often arises from fear of the effect books can have on society or culture.[2]: 2  Bibliophobia is a common cause of censorship and book burning. Bibliophobia and bibliophilia are antonyms.


In his 1999 Matthews lecture at Birkbeck College, Tom Shippey discussed bibliophobia in the Middle Ages. This arose when the literate professions, such as the clergy and beadles, would exploit and terrify the illiterate masses by their command of texts such as religious and legal documents. He illustrated this with examples from Anglo-Saxon literature such as The Pardoner's Tale.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2014
  2. ^ Jackson, Holbrook (1932), The Fear of Books, University of Illinois Press, ISBN 9780252070402
  3. ^ Shippey, Tom (2001), Bibliophobia: hatred of the book in the Middle Ages, Birkbeck College
  4. ^ The History of Science Fiction - Adam Roberts - Google Books (p.388)
  5. ^ The Pulpy Roots of ‘Fahrenheit 451’|The Russel Kirk Center

Further reading[edit]