(in full Areopagitica
: A Speech of Mr John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicenc'd Printing, to the Parliament of England) Pamphlet by John Milton, published in 1644 to protest an order issued by Parliament the previous year requiring government approval and licensing of all published books. Four earlier pamphlets by the author concerning divorce had met with official disfavor and suppressive measures. The title of the work derives from "Areopagus" ("Hill of Ares"), the name of the site from which the high court of Athens administered its jurisdiction and imposed a general censorship. In a prose style that draws heavily on Greek models, Milton argues that to mandate licensing is to follow the example of the detested Papacy. He defends the free circulation of ideas as essential to moral and intellectual development. Furthermore, he asserts, to attempt to preclude falsehood is to underestimate the power of truth. --The Merriam-Webster Encylopedia of Literature
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From the Publisher
Imaged from the collection of the Bridwell Library
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