Here is a short excerpt from Bradbury’s novel:
“Montag.” Granger took Montag’s shoulder firmly.
“Walk carefully. Guard your health. If anything should happen to Harris, you are the Book of Ecclesiastics. See how important you’ve become in the last minute!”
“But I’ve forgotten”
“No, nothing’s ever lost. We have ways to shake down your clinkers for you.”
“But I’ve tried to remember!”
“Don’t try. It’ll come when we need it. All of us have photographic memories, but spend a lifetime learning how to block off the things that are really in there. Simmons here has worked on it for twenty years and now we’ve got the method down to where we can recall everything that’s been read once. Would you like, some day, Montag, to read Plato’s Republic?”
“I am Plato’s Republic. Like to read Marcus Aurelius? Mr. Simmons is Marcus.”
“How do you do?” said Mr. Simmons
“Hello”, said Montag
“I want you to meet Jonathan Swift, the author of that evil political book, Gulliver’s Travels! And this other fellow is Charles Darwin, and this one is Schopenhauer, and this one is Einstein, and this one here at my elbow is Mr. Albert Schweitzer, a very kind philosopher indeed. Here we all are, Montag. Aristophanes and Mahatma Gandhi and Gautama Buddha and Confusius and Thomas Love Peacock and Thomas Jefferson and Mr. Lincoln, if you please. We are also Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”
Everyone laughed quietly.
“It can’t be”, said Montag
“It is”, replied Granger, smiling. “We’re book burners, too. We read the books and burnt them, afraid they’d be found. Micro-filming didn’t pay off; we were always traveling, we didn’t want to bury the film, and come back later. Always the chance of discovery. Better to keep it in old heads, where no one can see it or suspect it. We are all bits and pieces of history and literature and international law, Byron, Tom Paine, Machiavelli or Christ, it’s here. And the hour is lat. And the war’s began. And we are out here, and the city is there, all wrapped up in its own coat of a thousand colors. What do you think Montag?”