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by John Milton
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This Elibron Classics book is a facsimile reprint of a 1868 edition by Alex. Murray & Son, London.
In 1644 the English poet and man of letters, John Milton, published the Areopagitica as an appeal to Parliament to rescind their Licensing Order of June 16th, 1643. This order was designed to bring publishing under government control by creating a number of official censors to whom authors would submit their work for approval prior to having it published. Milton's argument, in brief, was that precensorship of authors was little more than an excuse for state control of thought. Recognizing that some means of accountability was necessary to ensure that libellous or other illegal works were kept under control, Milton felt this could be achieved by ensuring the legal responsibility of printers and authors for the content of what they published. Please Note: This book has been reformatted to be easy to read in true text, not scanned images that can sometimes be difficult to decipher. The Microsoft eBook has a contents page linked to the chapter headings for easy navigation. The Adobe eBook has bookmarks at chapter headings and is printable up to two full copies per year. Both versions are text searchable.
The Merriam-Webster Encylopedia of Literature
(in full Areopagitica: A Speech of Mr John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicenc'd Printing, to the Parliament of England) Pamphlet by John Milton, published in 1644 to protest an order issued by Parliament the previous year requiring government approval and licensing of all published books. Four earlier pamphlets by the author concerning divorce had met with official disfavor and suppressive measures. The title of the work derives from "Areopagus" ("Hill of Ares"), the name of the site from which the high court of Athens administered its jurisdiction and imposed a general censorship. In a prose style that draws heavily on Greek models, Milton argues that to mandate licensing is to follow the example of the detested Papacy. He defends the free circulation of ideas as essential to moral and intellectual development. Furthermore, he asserts, to attempt to preclude falsehood is to underestimate the power of truth.
From the Publisher
Imaged from the collection of the Bridwell Library
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