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Last updated:11 October 2017

Censorship and the working class reader - celebrating the bicentenary of William Hone's trials

Date: 16th Nov 2017

Event time: 18:30 to 20:00

Join us to celebrate the bicentenary of a pivotal event in the history of British censorship.

In December 1817, the radical satirist and publisher William Hone successfully defended himself in three high-profile prosecutions for blasphemous and seditious libel. Fiona Milne (University of York) will introduce us to Hone’s trials and political satires, examining why the state tried so hard to suppress Hone’s pamphlets, and why Hone’s victory was important.

Dr Katherine Inglis (University of Edinburgh) will explore the case of Henry Vizetelly, prosecuted and imprisoned for obscene libel, for publishing Emile Zola’s works in translation. She will use Vizetelly's case to look at how censorship targeted working-class readers.

The WCML has a wealth of related materials in its collections, and there’ll be a chance to handle original documents, including political pamphlets and published editions of trials.

We hope to open up a discussion on these cases and the issues they raise, including censorship, working-class readers, political protest, “forbidden books”, and the changing legal face of censorship in Britain.

Free; book a place at the event here.