This phrase became a popular saying in the Soviet Union. It was used especially in reference to writers whose works were considered dangerous by the government. Many of these writers never wrote down their stories or poems. They memorized their works so that the police would not find copies of the writings. This method helped preserve their stories for years. As a result, "manuscripts don't burn" because no matter what happens to the written copy of the work, it will always exist in the mind of its author.
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