the parthenon of books

“Parthenon of Books” Memorializes Book Burning, Celebrates Intellectual Freedom


In a place where thousands of books were once burned en masse, a monument to free speech and the power of knowledge towers into the sky.



Image courtesy of Universes in Universe


Designed by artist Marta Minujín, The Parthenon of Books was constructed out of plastic sheeting, steel, and nearly 100,000 banned books from all over the world, with titles including “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, “The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity”, and “The Satanic Verses”. Minujín had designed a similar structure in her home country of Argentina in 1983, intending it to be a response to the repressive regime then in power. 


marta artist

Image courtesy of Magistére de sciences de gestation


The location of the structure, however, is especially poignant: the Fridericianum museum. Located in Kassel, Germany, the former library was the site of a 1933 Nazi Book Burning; roughly 2,000 books were destroyed as part of a “Campaign against the Un-German Spirit”.


nazi book burning

Image courtesy of Wikinow


“The Parthenon of Books” is part of a Kassel art exhibition called “documenta 14”. The exhibitors described the work as “a symbol of opposition to the banning of writings and the persecution of their authors.”


Featured image courtesy of Greek Reporter Europe.