The court of consciences. Literary censorship in modern Europe Lecture Series CLANDESTINE AND FORBIDDEN IN MODERN EUROPE (XVI-XVII CENTURIES)

The court of consciences. Literary censorship in modern Europe

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María José Vega

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  1. María José VegaMaría José Vega

    Es catedrática de Teoría de la Literatura y Literatura Comparada de la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, donde fundó y dirige el Grupo de investigación Seminario de Poética Europea del Renacimiento. Se ha dedicado a la investigación y el estudio de la teoría literaria y la literatura europeas del siglo XVI desde una perspectiva interdisciplinar y comparatista. Ha editado y traducido al castellano tratados, poéticas y diálogos latinos e italianos de los siglos XV y XVI. Son sus proyectos inmediatos la edición y estudio de la obra de Hernán Pérez de Oliva y la traducción castellana de los Discorsi del poema eroico de Torquato Tasso y del Antibarbarorum Liber de Erasmo. Actualmente trabaja en una monografía sobre la relación entre literatura y ateísmo en la Europa preilustrada, que aparecerá en la Salerno Editrice (Roma).
    Ha trabajado como experta de la Fundación Española de Ciencia y Tecnología y ha contribuido a la elaboración y redacción del Libro Blanco de la Investigación en Humanidades (2005). Entre sus últimos libros figuran La literatura comparada. Principios y métodos (1998), Literatura hipertextual y teoría literaria (2003) y Poética y teatro. La teoría dramática del Renacimiento a la Posmodernidad (2004).

By the end of the 15th century, the ecclesiastical bodies granted the printing press an enthusiastic and warm embrace. They greeted it as divine art capable of giving to the entire world treasures of wisdom and teaching, of extending devotion, of fostering spiritual reading and historical and science knowledge. In the words of the Franciscan Bernardino da Feltre, in these new times, with such light and abundance of books, there would be no excuses left for men to remain in ignorance. Nevertheless, soon this fascination for mechanical writing became awareness not only of its benefits, but also its dangers. In the bull of 1487 Inter multiplices, the Pope Innocent VIII praised the utility of the printing presses because it was possible to multiply the good books, but also warned about its risks, because with the same efficiency it could disseminate perverse doctrines and false knowledge. This way, he established the imprimatur institution, and assumed that the pastoral office's role of caring for the souls needed to be extended to the press work and the content of the books. Thus, the intimate relationship in modern Europe between the printing press and the institutions of censorship can be traced to the origins and spans for several centuries. The most visible expression of this is without doubt the vast List of Prohibited Books (Index Librorum Prohibitorum) compiled by Roman, Tridentine, and national authorities; but also adopts other less conspicuous, or more capillary, forms but equally effective. This conference aims at highlighting the main milestones of the increasing intervention process over what was read, describing the theoretical justification of censorship over fiction and entertainment books, and proposing a general review of the great relevance that the institutions of censorship had over the cultural and textual exchanges in the great golden literature. The title of the conference holds a homage to the great Italian historian Adriano Prosperi, whom through the expression court of conscience referred to the sum of censorship and confession, understanding that each of them have the power to search the intimacy of the soul, its convictions and desires, and in the silent and private acts of reading and imagining.