A Theatre of Cleanliness: a Study of Early Modern Book Microcensorship and the Digital Humanities

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Censorship sometimes took on a spectacular, even theatrical aspect, as when book burnings were organized in the squares of major cities such as Lisbon, London, Paris or Rome. But, besides the elimination and prohibition of books, there was another form of censorship, common, and also spectacular, in the first sense: made to be seen. It is the expurgation of printed matter, or censorship in the texts themselves. The present work deals with the phenomena of micro-censorship which, for several centuries, have marked the circulation and reading of a very large number of works throughout Europe. It was particularly well organized in the Catholic countries where the tribunal of the Holy Office, or Inquisition, was established, with a staff qualified for this type of task. The systematic study of these phenomena has been made possible thanks to the principles and methodo- logical means presented here. Finally, a case study, the Theatrum Vitae Humanae by Theodor and Jacob Zwinger, provides an insight into the interest and potential of microcensorship studies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheatrum libri
Subtitle of host publicationBook Printing, Reading and Dissemination in Early Modern Europe
EditorsMilda Kvizikevičiūtė, Viktorija Vaitkevičiūtė
Place of PublicationVilnius
PublisherMartynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-609-405-228-6
ISBN (Print)978-609-405-227-9
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Arly modern book
  • Censorship
  • Digital humanities


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