Using the example of Edmund Spenser, a writer who was frequently in danger of having his work censored, this article argues that analysis of Elizabethan censorship in recent times has often been misdirected. Scholars have argued about the behaviour of the authorities and whether what they decided to allow into print was reasonable. As a study of Spenser’s work indicates there may well have been a desire to censor more texts more heavily, but there was no apparatus available to enforce such a policy. Only when texts drew attention to themselves, often when causing a particular incident, was the punitive mechanism of the law employed.
04. Andrew Hadfield – Censorship in Renaissance Engalnd, The Fate of Edmund Spenser (main)