Debating censorship
Liberty and press control in the 1640s
in Texts and readers in the Age of Marvell
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For many years now, historians have engaged in fierce debates over the extent and efficacy of censorship during the 1640s. Such debates have a distinguished history, as scholars over the last century have taken up various, sometimes widely divergent positions on the topic of censorship in Civil-War England. This chapter focuses on the impact of press controls during the Civil Wars, and analyzes the ways in which the twin issues of censorship and press freedom imbued the discourse of the 1640s. Prynne was scarcely alone in bringing instances of censorship to the public eye. Edward Terry's remarks indicate once again the public perception of the Levellers as an existential threat even as they demonstrate the scope of the Levellers' cultural influence. It is significant that Terry's sermon was printed with the title Lawless Liberty.

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