Areopagitica | A Speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicen’d Printing to the Parlament of England. John MILTON.
Areopagitica | A Speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicen’d Printing to the Parlament of England.
Areopagitica | A Speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicen’d Printing to the Parlament of England.
Areopagitica | A Speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicen’d Printing to the Parlament of England.

Areopagitica | A Speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicen’d Printing to the Parlament of England.

London: Eragny Press, 1902. Second issue. Quarto. Bound in original quarter Michallet paper, with repeat patterned pink and green ‘carnation’ paper covered boards, and gilt stamped lettering to the upper left of the front cover. [iii] 4-37 pp. [ii]. Printed in the Pissarro’s Brook type, with the text arranged in double columns in black and shoulder-notes in red; printed on Arches handmade paper. Corners slightly bumped, else a Fine copy. One of 160 paper copies. Item #9

A fire at Leighton’s bindery in November 1903 destroyed most copies of the Pissarros’ first issue of 'Areopagitica'. With the recent death of his father, and mounting financial strain, Lucien was hesitant to reprint the edition. Esther, however, was committed to issuing the book, and by December the reprinting had been announced. While the first issue consisted of 226 paper copies, and a further ten on vellum, the wood block from which the title border was printed would not yield so many impressions again, so only 160 paper copies were reprinted. Milton’s tract, which was first published in 1644, is especially apposite to the ethos of private printing. Three years after the Eragny reprint of 'Areopagitica' appeared, Cobden-Sanderson produced his own edition at the Doves Press.

Deriving its title from Areopagus, or the ‘Hill of Ares’, where the Athenian court was held, 'Areopagitica' was written as an appeal to rescind the 1643 parliamentary order requiring government approval and licensing of all printing. Couching his censure in the style of classical oration, Milton argues against the legitimacy of any one body being privileged to regulate discourse: ‘What should ye doe then, should ye suppresse all this flowery crop of knowledge and new light sprung up and yet springing daily in this City, should ye set an Oligarchy of twenty ingrossers over it, to bring a famin upon our minds again, when we shall know nothing but what is measur’d to us by their bushel?’ [Genz, EP 18a; Tomkinson, EP 19].

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