Picture of John Milton.
John Milton, ' Areopagitica ' addressed to 'the Parliiament of England' (1644)
Books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potencie of life in them to be as active as the soule was whose progeny they are; nay they do preserve as in a violl the purest efficacie and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigourously productive, as those fabulous Dragons teeth; and being sown uo and down, may chance to spring up armed men. And yet on the other hand unless warinesse be us'd, as good almost kill a Man as kill a good book, who kills a Man kills a reasonable creature, Gods image; but hee who destroys a good Booke, kills reaon it selfe, kills the Image of God, as it were in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the Earth, but a good Booke is the pretiois life-blood of a master spirit, imbam'd and treasur'd up on purpose to a life beyond life... We should be wary therefore what persecution we raise against the living labours of publick men, how we spill the season'd life of man preserv'd and stor'd up in Books; since we see a kinde of homicide may thus be committed, sometimes a martyrdome, and if it extend to the whole impression, a kinde of massacre, whereof the execution ends not in the slaying of an elemental life, but strikes at the ethereall and fift essence, the breath of reason it selfe, slaies an immortality rather then a life.
CENSORSHIP AS MUTILATION. - D.H. Lawrence, 1930. ( a Propos of Lady Chatterrley's Lover)
I managed to get published the little cheap French edition, photographed down from the original, and offered at 60 francs. English publishers urge me to make an expurgated edition, promising large returns... and insisting that I should show the public that here is a fine novel, apart from all 'purple' and all ;words'. So I begin to be tempted and start in to expurgate. But impossible! I might as well try to clip my own nose into shape with scissors. The book bleeds.
And in spite of all antagonism I put forth the novel as an honest, healthy book necessary for us today. The words that shock so much at first don't shock at all after a while. Is this because the mind is depraved by habit? Not a bit. It is that the words merely shocked the mind at all. People without minds may go on being shocked, but they don't matter. People with minds realize that they aren't shocked, and never really were: and they experience a sense of relief.
CENSORSHIP IN ACTION
'What King Solomon was doing with all those women wouldn't be tolerated in San Franciscio. '
Police chief, prosecuting the publisher of Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl and Other Poems@ in 1957, when asked if his standards of obscenity wouldn't apply to the Bible.
SOME CENSORS AND BOOKBANNERS IN THE UNITED STATES:
Barnes and Noble
Central Intelligance Agency (CIA)
Christian Voters league
Columbus Metropolitan Library
McCarthy, Joseph R. - U.S Senator
National Association of Christian Educators
National Federation of Decency
National Security Agency
New England Watch and Ward Society
Max Rafferty - CA superintendant of public instruction
U.S. Bureau of Customs
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
U.S.Immigration and Naturalization Service
U.S. Information Agency
U.S Justice department
U.S Postal Service
U.S Treasury Department
SOME CENSORS AND BOOKBANNERS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES.
Ayatollah of Iran
Franco of Spain
Certain communist systems
Roman Catholic Church
The Church of Scientology
Sol Littman, Simon Wiesethal Centre
Supreme Court of Austalia
Synod of Canterbury at St. Paul's, London
The above list is only a short one their are many many more
in the meantime have a good read, devour a banned book today.