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In the mid 16th century, the first indexes of forbidden books began to be written in Paris, Leuven, Venezia, and Rome. Many more would follow across the entire catholic realm, fostered by the Tridentine theologists and by an institution of recent creation the Sacra Congregatio Indicis (Sacred Index Congregation). For four hundred years they determined what texts were read, written, printed and circulated, and due to this they offer the most visible testimony, although not the only one, of how has literary censorship been applied in the modern Europe, across the national and language frontiers. The famous heterodox Jean Bodin, had defended in the last years of the 16th century the opportunity of the censorship institution, arguing that the state needs to assume the task of looking over the traditions and morality of the citizens. Censorship could thus be used to satisfy a necessary political function -conscientias munire- that the conventional laws would not know how to do, and could not do. Thus, in the first doctrines about censorship we already find the manifestation of the tensions caused by modernity, as well as the reflexion about the limits and instruments of intervention of the state: this also shows the capillary extension of new ways of power that aspire to the control of conscience through acting over the texts and fictions. These conferences want to analyze the practice of censorship in modern Europe, but not only in its negative or repressive aspects, but also in its role for the construction of a modern policy. And also wants, above all, to propose another possible literary history, of dangerous and clandestine books, of authors condemned or suspected, of a tradition suppressed by prohibition and expurgation, and of ways of writing that were proper to those times of persecution and intolerance.
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