Based on my last post, you may have expected that I would jump in to discuss John Milton considering my arguments seem to parallel many of the statements in Areopagitica. Specifically, I like the statement that being “exposed to a wide range of ideas . . . strengthened the character of a reader” (99). Milton adds an element to the argument that I feel is implicit in my argument but not necessarily called out directly: human error. People may (and often do) misjudge the nature of a work or carry a personal bias which would have led to restricting the printing of a work. Overall, I was really excited to see this section on Milton in the reading and could probably go on about the arguments as Standage shares them.
Certainly, our censorship struggles are not as harsh as they were in the 1500-1600s. Unlike Stubbs (who had a rather unfortunately accurate last name), we don’t have to worry about having our hands cut off if we write and share something offensive; still, people seek to control and hide information that they don’t like. Still, as an overall, chapter 5 expresses the many ways in which people manage to get around the rules to share and access information that they are interested about, such as the handwritten newsletters.
Thomas Fuller also brings about an interesting perspective in stating “the pamphlets of this age may pass for records with the next . . . and what we laugh at, our children may believe” (97). This reminds me of when I took Comp. II to get my AA; one of our first reading assignments was “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift. The majority of the class believed Swift’s argument to be genuine and quite a few people were unsure of how to interpret the “proposal;” only a few of us recognized that it was meant to be satirical. While not every printed work is satirical, it does provide an interesting thought; our view of history is shaped primarily by the literature which may or may not be accurate to what actually occurred. Just as half of my Comp. II class believed the people of 1729 Ireland were at least considering cannibalism, we might be fooled into believing particular things about the past that may not, in truth, reflect the culture or events.
(Post for 10-4-16)