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Printing revolution, and revolution in print

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  1. Printing as an Agent of Change
  2. The Rise of Press Controls in England
  3. Protest in Print in England: the Marprelate Tradition, and the Protestant Ideology of Print

The study of Milton's role in the Revolution and some features of print culture are useful for the analysis of Areopagitica. Early Modern Europe was marked by the appearance of printing. It enabled ideas, knowledge, or news to be spread more widely than ever before, and it changed man's conception of writing. During the English Revolution, the press witnessed and registered the fabulous intellectual emulation in England, and was turned into an ideological weapon by combatant writers. Milton was one of them. His attitude as a pamphleteer, as well as some particular events of the Revolution, help to understand why he rejected the Licensing Order of 1643. The development of the printing trade made possible the spread of ideas through the mass publication and distribution of key writings which were going to have an enormous impact on Western societies. The spiritual and secular authorities of Europe and England well perceived the dangers of this innovation, they feared that the wide circulation of dissenting ideas was going to undermine the stability of their establishment, and very soon assumed a jealous control over the printing press. In England, these controls were not sufficient to prevent the publication of seditious opinions, and printing became religious and the political dissidents favourite means of expression.

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