The Book Trade, Licensing, and Censorship

Jason McElligott

in The Oxford Handbook of Literature and the English Revolution

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199560608
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

The Book Trade, Licensing, and Censorship

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  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)



This article provides an overview of book trade and the regulatory framework within which it operated in the 1640s and 1650s. It fist argues that the book trade did not operate within a free-market system. It then examines the interrelated issues of censorship and freedom of the press. Like all mercantile trades in the period, the book trade was regulated by a trade guild (known as the Stationers' Company). However, the religious and political sensitivities of print culture ensured that the book trade was also regulated and overseen by both Church and state.

Keywords: book trade; censorship; freedom of the press; print culture

Article.  9374 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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