Licensing Act (570 words)

Historical Context Essay


The Licensing of the Press Act (13 & 14 Car. II. c. 33), or to give its long title “An Act for preventing the frequent Abuses in printing seditious treasonable and unlicensed Bookes and Pamphlets and for regulating of Printing and Printing Presses”, re-imposed principles that had been promulgated by Star Chamber decree in 1637 and thus restored state control over printing that had lapsed during the Civil War. It required that all printing presses be registered with the Stationer‘s Company and set out severe penalties of fine and imprisonment for offenders. All publications had to carry the name of the author and of the printer and had to be submitted to the licenser. Sir Roger L‘Estrange acted as the first “chief licenser …

Citation: Clark, Robert. "Licensing Act". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 April 2004; last revised 12 August 2008. [, accessed 25 October 2020.]

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