- Cultural Reformations
- List of Illustrations
- List of Abbreviations
- List of Contributors
- National Histories
- Literary Histories
- Enclosed Spaces
- The Eucharist
- The Saints
- Vernacular Theology
- When English Became Latin
- Heresy and Treason
- Naughty Printed Books
- Utopian Pleasure
- Poetic Fame
- London Books and London Readers
- The Reformation of the Household
- Active and Contemplative Lives
- Autobiography and the History of Reading
Abstract and Keywords
The Index librorum prohibitorum, first issued in 1559, the Roman Catholic Church’s official effort to ban certain books, is often contrasted with John Milton’s Areopagitica, so often claimed the foundational text of a modern notion of freedom of expression. But the opposition is more a function of a modern desire than of historical fact. The two texts do not so much display this reassuring opposition as their unnerving similarity. This article examines and attempts to undo some of the oppositions that have structured most of the scholarly discussion on the subject of censorship: Catholic versus Protestant, state versus individual, repression versus freedom. All of these play their role in an undeniably appealing history of liberty and toleration, but it is not a history that has much purchase in early modern England, as may be shown by a consideration of the efforts of the Church and authorities in England to prevent the circulation of what they called “naughty printed books.”
David Scott Kastan teaches at Yale University where he is the George M. Bodman Professor of English. Among his publications are Shakespeare and the Shapes of Time (1982), Shakespeare after Theory (1999), and Shakespeare and the Book (2001), as well as editions of Milton's Paradise Lost (2005), Marlowe's Dr. Faustus (2005), and Shakespeare's 1 Henry IV (2002). He is presently finishing a book on Shakespeare and religion to be published by OUP in 2012.
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