ELCS6037 - Censorship and Iconoclasm: Texts and Images under Control in Early Modern Europe
Value: 0.5 course units
Tutor: Dr Chiara Franceschini
Assessment: 2 assessed essays of 2,000 words each.
Practices of censorship had long been in existence; but with the advent of the printing press and the explosion of confessional conflicts in early modern Europe, the need for keeping texts and images under control became far more urgent. It was at this time that modern censorship was founded. In the Catholic South as well as in the Protestant North, mechanisms for controlling culture were established. At the same time, images and texts became more and more targets of popular or private iconoclasm.
This module will provide an introduction to the history of censorship and iconoclasm in early modern Europe by adopting a comparative approach. We will deal with the Roman Congregation of the Index, a central Catholic agency established in order to edit and expunge ‘dangerous’ books systematically, and with Calvinist endeavours to control cultural outputs.
We will study the attempts which were made
to emend or suppress unsuitable visual representations and also address
issues of ‘preventive censorship’ imposed by authors on themselves, as
well as strategies for evading and escaping censorship. The module will
hopefully include a practical session in the British Library where
examples ranging from emendation, expurgation, censorship, erasure and
effacement of texts and images will be studied.
Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:
- 'Church, Censorship and Culture in Early Modern Italy', ed. by G. Fragnito, Cambridge 2001.
- Ingeborg Jostock, 'La censure négociée: le contrôle du livre à Genève, 1560-1625', Genève 2007.
- Michael Camille, 'Obscenity under Erasure. Censorship in Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts', in 'Obscenity: Social Control and Artistic Creation in European Middle Ages', ed. by Jan M. Ziolkowski, Leiden, Brill, 1998, pp. 139-154.
- Brian Cummings, 'Iconoclasm and Bibliophobia in the English Reformations 1521 - 1558' in 'Images, Idolatry and Iconoclasm in Late Medieval England', ed. by J. Dimmock, J. Simpson and N. Zeeman, Oxford University Press, pp. 185-206.