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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Revisionist histories of censorship have contended that the state’s infrequent and essentially ad hoc interventions in print in early modern England reveal that the Whig history of censorship is a mere fiction. This chapter explores the spectrum of procedures for managing print in the period, the economic and the ideological, the typical and the exceptional, and suggests that the very arbitrariness of interventions may have been part of their effectiveness. The law combined with less formal, everyday procedures to provide a range of means of managing print that was neither the Whigs’ monolithic control nor the Revisionists’s liberal freedom.

Keywords: Censorship, Stationers Company, book trade, libel, liberty, licensing, Milton, Prynne

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