Richard Burt. Licensed by Authority: Ben Jonson and the Discourse of Censorship.Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1993

Craig Bernthal


Richard Burt‘s book adds another voice to recent studies of censorship in the Renaissance, the most substantial of which
belong to Annabel Patterson, Leeds Barroll, and Philip Finkelpearl. Burt‘s argument is that previous studies have
tended to regard censorship “in monolithic, narrow terms, defining it exclusively as a negative exercise of power centered in the court”. He describes the work of Annabel Patterson and Philip Finkelpearl as “ahistorical”, mainly because it frames the discussion of early modern censorship in terms of free speech vs. censorship — authors
attempting, in one way or another, to speak freely and dodge censorship entirely. This is a way of thinking, Burt
claims, which did not occur to early modern English playwrights; rather, for them censorship was a given.


English Language; English


Copyright (c) 1998 Craig Bernthal

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