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"... QUELLE COSI DETTE GRAZIE DI STILE": THE IMPLICATIONS OF STYLE ON THE VERDICTS OF ROMAN BOOK CENSORSHIP ON ENGLISH LITERATURE.

The Index Librorum Prohibitorum and the Roman Catholic Church as a sort of shield that was supposed to protect the faithful from the viciousness of the world--this is how the Roman congregations responsible for book censorship, the Holy Office and the Congregation of the Index, viewed themselves and their duty. (2) The censors in charge were well aware of the dangerousness of the written word, of books, pamphlets and all sorts of other publications, in as much as they had the capacity to spread contents and theses they considered false and evil to every stratum of society. The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in the fifteenth century as well as its "media-political employment in the Reformation" (Wolf 15) had made a thorough control of the book market indispensable. A wide chasm had opened up between the center of the Catholic Church in Rome and protestant countries such as England or Germany ever since the schism initiated by Martin Luther and after Henry VIII had renounced papal authority and created the Church of England. Although it primarily regarded the theological-political realm the conflict was also argued out on the level of book censorship, especially on the Catholic side: from the Index's birth on a myriad of English books, written by Anglican authors, ended up on this black list of the Catholic Church.

Of course, the censors primarily focused their interest on the content of these works, which transgressed against their view of either fides or mores, of faith and mores. They were particularly active during the Enlightenment, when several scholars ventured to question established principles of the Christian faith and even the existence of God or criticized the Catholic Church as well as its pastors, dogmas, institutions etc. and papacy in particular. (3) Essays, histories and encyclopedias, which sought to inform, to instruct and also to dispel established truths, were flourishing on the English and the European book market. (4) Many of them were, figuratively speaking, dressed in a beautiful robe: they were written in an either enjoyable and diverting or simple and popular language that made them accessible to and readable by a broad public. Furthermore, on the level of language and style a number of techniques and genres enjoyed great popularity with authors and readers, which operated against an institution that claimed to be the keeper of the one and only crystal clear truth: rhetorical devices such as irony, sarcasm, puns, double entendre or ambiguities and the genre of satire were deeply abhorred by the Roman censors, as they were capable of veiling, obstructing or ridiculing this Veritas they sought to defend. As Gustavo Costa put it poignantly in an article on the prohibition of Jonathan Swift's satire A Tale of a Tub (1704) by the Congregation of the Index in 1734, it almost seemed as if the Devil, who in his crusade against the Catholic Church had first appeared in the guise of reformatory emissaries as Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli or John Calvin, "had now changed his tactics" by dispatching authors, whose well and easily written or humorist works were better to read than ponderous erudite literature--and therefore ultimately far more dangerous (Costa 159). Of course, for a Roman catholic censor a work such as Swift's was perilous enough, in as much as it mocked religious conflicts and the Catholic Church in particular. But the way in which it was written, its satiric style, its bluntness and also the genre its author selected, a prose parody, made The Tale of a Tub attractive to a broad public and therefore fostered the danger deriving from it.

Thus, apart from the content of the respective works the question how a book was written, its style and how it affected its readers was a recurrent theme in many of the censors' votums. An easily accessible language and the efficient use of stylistic devices facilitated the infiltration of the flock and rendered the books in question highly seductive. In 1835, Nicholas Wiseman (1802-1865), who was to become the first Archbishop of Westminster after the restoration of the Catholic Church hierarchy in England and Wales in 1850, authored a votum on Jeremy Bentham's Deontology (1834). Therein he pointed to the malignant combination of "thoughts... and style," (5) especially as the "irreligious author's" work, "which contained the development of the already known and repeatedly condemned doctrines [...], may be considered the most dangerous of all of his works, as the others are intended for learned readers due to their style and their thinking, whereas this one is conceived for all classes, being so to speak a popular book." (6) Similarly, Prospero Piatti, who examined David Hume's famous History of England (1754-61) in 1827, stated in his votum: "It is not difficult to see that this history, written by a godless man, as we all know, must be forbidden, both for the inequitable doctrines, which are therein contained, and for the very seducing manner, in which it is written." (7) And Bernard Smith gave a rewarding, yet admonishing verdict on Henry Hart Milman's History of Latin Christianity (1855) in 1857: "As far as the artistic aspect is concerned, it is a work of great value. The beauty of style, the robustness and graphic description of the narrative as well as the comprehensive and profound erudition with which it is adorned, are very attractive to the reader." (8) Others, such as Giovanni Battista Zanobetti in his votum on Conyers Middleton's A Letter from Rome (1729), put it more graphically, concluding that the author "has embellished it with very hazy erudition, has written it in an elegant style and thus made it easier for the poison therein contained to disperse and to destroy those incautious minds that might venture to read it." (9) Finally, Placido Zurla combined his criticism of style with a misogynistic remark when evaluating Lady Sydney Morgan's travelogue Italy: "Many and many false, irreligious and indecent propositions could be enumerated here, to say nothing of the intrepid despite of today's civil authorities, the exaltation of the only republican or constitutional government and the freedom of the press; but what has been said so far is sufficient to show that in this book irreligiousness and the most disgusting womanish garrulity are so to speak competing with each other; all this is sprinkled with the so-called graces of satirical style, which are such a pleasure to this degenerated century." (10)

All these quotations suggest that style was a sort of "booster" for the condemnation of a book, if not the primary reason that a book ended up on the Index. This, of course, does not only apply to English literature. Those English books that ended up on the Index in the nineteenth century--a rather small number in comparison to the plethora of French books censored (11--)have one common denominator: they were in one way or the other critical of the Catholic Church or of Italy. Thus, the content was the core of their depravity, but additionally they appeared in a pleasant and thence seductive disguise. The present contribution aims to present two censorship cases: in 1852, a volume of Percy Bysshe Shelley's Poetical Works was examined by the Congregation of the Index, but finally acquitted, while approximately three decades earlier, in 1819, Laurence Sterne's A Sentimental Journey had been examined and finally put on the Index. We shall see that style played a vital role in the context of the dealings of the congregation and that the use of a particular language and rhetorical devices affected the Roman censors and finally their verdict on the works they examined.

Percy Bysshe Shelley's Poetical Works: a confirmed atheist before the tribune of the Congregation of the Index

The English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) was a notorious figure in nineteenth-century Rome. He had lived in Italy together with his wife Mary Shelley Wollstonecraft (1797-1851), stayed in Rome in early 1818 and mingled with the Italian and Roman intelligentsia. On July 8, 1822, he had died a tragic death, drowning in the Mediterranean sea during a violent summer storm while travelling from Livorno to Lerici with his sailing boat. (12) Moreover, in his homeland England as well as on the continent he was known to be a confirmed atheist (13) and critic of the Church and the established system of society, which he, as he himself wrote to his friend Leigh Hunt in May 1820, wanted to see "overthrown from the foundations, with all its superstructure of maxims and forms" (Solve 19). Already in his first works, he did not conceal this striving for freedom and justice; in his philosophical and visionary poem Queen Mab, for instance, published in 1813, he severely attacked monarchy, religion and commerce as the prime reasons for the oppression and misery of the past and present society. He envisaged a future, in which both nature and the virtuousness of man were to effect the necessary changes; he venerated a Utopian vision of a civilization marked by republicanism, atheism, free love and vegetarianism. Not surprisingly, Shelley himself was well aware of the fact that many of his English contemporaries would not receive his work very well and therefore privately distributed among his friends only. However, when pirated copies began to circulate on the book market in 1820 (much to Shelley's dismay), it was immediately suppressed by the "Society for the Suppression of Vice." (14)

Due to his sojourn and subsequent death in Italy as well as his fame among learned Italians, it must not amaze that his works were eventually denounced to the Roman Congregation of the Index, however comparably late, in 1852, thirty years after the poet had died. The documents in the Vatican archives unfortunately do not allow for conclusions on the denouncer's identity. The entrusted censor, Giacinto De' Ferrari, was handed over a collective volume in English language, entitled Poetical Works, which had been published in London in 1839. (15) De' Ferrari's proem to his votum suggests that he was well aware of who Shelley was: "These are verses," he wrote, "by a protestant, or rather an atheist, and only this is sufficient for your Most Reverend Eminences to apply the general rule of the Index concerning books by heretics." (16) The second rule of the Index the censor pointed to here, refers to "libri... acatholicorum, qui ex professo de religione tractant. " According to this rule, all works written by heresiarchs such as Luther or Zwingli were a priori prohibited, no matter what they were about. Books written by other "heretics" were only per se forbidden if they explicitly dealt with religious issues, whereas all publications on other issues written by protestants had to be examined one by one (Wolf 31). In order to prove that Shelley was a heretic, he quoted a passage from Queen Mab, which unmistakably revealed that the author was everything but a god-fearing creature:
There is no God!
Nature confirms the faith his death-groan sealed:
Let heaven and earth, let man's revolving race,
His ceaseless generations tell their tale;
Let every part depending on the chain
That links it to the whole, point to the hand
That grasps its term! let every seed that falls
In silent eloquence unfold its store
Of argument: infinity within,
Infinity without, belie creation;
The exterminable spirit it contains
Is nature's only God; but human pride
Is skilful to invent most serious names
To hide its ignorance. (Shelley, Queen Mab, book 7, v. 13-25)


This, of course, smelled strongly of blatant and unveiled atheism. The censor's subsequent judgement was devastating: "There are so many deliriums that his poetaster from the drinking hole goes squawking that this poem was condemned as immoral by the English laws." (17) This utterance, by the way, raises the question of style in the censors' votums: De' Ferrari most obviously left the range of sober, unambiguous judgment using a pejorative, insulting and hyperbolic mode of expression, which he later took up as he remarked, "these poems merit to be burnt." (18) These statements suggest that the censor was downright and recognizably disgusted by Shelley's works, thinking and life. Apparently, however, he had not read a single of Shelley's verses: when authoring his verdict, the Italian monk, who seemingly knew no English, actually did not cite from the volume he had to review. He inferred the passage quoted above as well as all other information on the poet and his works from the entry on Shelley in a standard reference work, the Dizionario Biografico, published in Florence in 1849. In fact, he merely reproduced selected facts therein contained. Two footnotes he added to his votum attest that he consulted the Dizionario. This points to the fact that De' Ferrari--as several of his colleagues in the Roman censorship authorities--refrained from a close analysis of the book he had to examine casting a random and superficial glance at its author.

Surprisingly for someone who wrote such a fulminant votum, but in accordance with the Rules of the Index his conclusion was then the following: "If it convenes to explicitly put the name on the Index, I fully submit to Your Eminences' judgment. In my opinion it is not opportune, as such books are already prohibited by law [...] Otherwise we would have to fill the Index with the names of thousands of Protestants and examine endless products of uncatholic pens, which from their birth on are hit by the anathema of the Church." (19) This is a very common argumentation and partially explains why so little English (that means uncatholic) books were put on the Index: the Roman censors frankly did not consider it necessary to prohibit each single book that presented the Catholic Church in an unfavorable light. Appealing to the second Rule of the Index they regarded them as per se prohibited because they had been conceived by heretical authors. However, the so-called "Relazione," which summed up the discussion of the "congregatio generalis," the cardinals' final and decisive meeting, reveals that some of the dignitaries, who recommended the pope what to do with the books in question, did not agree with De' Ferrari. Therein it says: "However, as we are of the opinion that today it is en vogue to produce books, which are pernicious due to their elegant poetical style and the outer grace of its forms, three of the most eminent cardinals wanted to have it condemned by a public decree, whereas the greater part of them, five cardinals, thought that it should not be mentioned." This indicates that some of the cardinals were well aware of the power and the danger deriving from the beautiful poetical dress of Shelley's works and wanted to put them on the Index as an explicit warning. They, so to speak, wanted to protect the faithful from this apple in the Garden of Eden, whereas the advocates of the common rule relied on the self-protective obedience to the Rules of the Index on the part of the faithful. However, in the end the congregation and the pope, who had the final say, worked by the book: they solely applied the rules given to them by the Council of Trent, turning a blind eye to the seductiveness of beautiful literature. Shelley's name never appeared on the Index.

Laurence Sterne on the Index, or: the power of the translator

Roughly three decades earlier, the work of another English author, had been put on the Index: the eighteenth-century novelist Laurence Sterne had travelled to France and Italy in the mid-eighteenth century and had afterwards digested his experiences in a somewhat unusual travel novel entitled A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy, which was left unfinished, as the author died shortly after he had published the first part of it in 1768. (20) It was only late in his life that Sterne, who, by the way, was a vicar of the Church of England, had started his literary career inserting himself in the English and European tradition of learned wit. He drew from numerous literary examples, such as the French satirist Francois Rabelais as well as Michel de Montaigne and especially Miguel de Cervantes and his English colleagues, Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson and the members of the so-called "Scriblerus Club," Jonathan Swift (and his Tale of a Tub) and Alexander Pope. (21). In his first major work, the nine-volume novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (1759-1767), he derided, ridiculed, parodied and satirized mankind in general, society, social and personal relationships and also the minor and unmentionable businesses of human life. His book was full of dirty jokes, bawdy puns and quick-witted ambiguities. Of course, there were (progressive) critics that were fulsome in their praise. He was, for instance, called "a writer infinitely more ingenious and entertaining than any other of the present race of novelists" by William Kenrick of the Monthly Review in 1759 after Volume I had been published (Howes 47f.). After all, the novel with its frank style and its somewhat "pre-Dadaistic" structure was something completely new to the eighteenth century reader. The majority of the English readers and reviewers, however, were everything but pleased with it, especially as they connected it to his priesthood and to his private life: not only did Sterne, the Anglican minister, dare to present a book full of erotically charged anecdotes and descriptions of the digestive process, but besides he was known to have numerous extramarital affairs. (22) A myriad of reviews appeared in various English magazines, after the first volumes had been published; therein Tristram Shandy was called an "obscene novel," "a shame to the public taste!" and "an outrage against Christianity, and a mockery on religion" (Howes 95-99). As further volumes appeared, the reviews became more hostile and personal, which obviously had an impact on the readers: the continuation of his novel sold badly. And although Sterne himself professed in a letter to his friend John Hall-Stevenson of June 1761 "I care not a curse for the critics" (Curtis 139f.), the reviewers' assessment of his works was crucial for the development of his writing. The wave of negative reviews made Sterne reflect; as Virginia Woolf put it: "Sterne, however little he let it show on the surface, laid the criticism to heart" (Woolf 57). He gradually saw a conflict between his "need to satisfy the public and his desire to please himself" (Putney 287), a need for bienseance. And indeed, his following and final work, A Sentimental Journey, displayed less of the salty and caricaturing irony and the bawdy jokes of Tristram Shandy, as its author increasingly turned towards the "the depths of his sensibility" (Woolf 57) in an attempt to explore man's sentiments and feelings and human intercourse. This does not mean that he published an entirely sober and conventional book or that he lost his humor; it is rather that he did not point a finger at human deficiencies, but laughed with his characters and his readers about the imperfections of human life. His slyness was more subtle and the tendency towards ambiguous and erotically charged jokes and situations was less offensive and obvious than it had formerly been in Tristram Shandy. He himself called the novel his "Work of Redemption" (Howes 40f.), which suggests how powerful the media's opinion had appeared to him. The reviews had the power to influence both the audience (the declining number of books sold is a clear proof of it) and the author, as Sterne's change of mind and his culpability clearly show. A parallel between the tradition of reviewing and Roman book censorship is unmissable here. Just as the Roman censors the reviewers had a massive influence on the book market (and Sterne's case is not the only one that prompts that (23)), albeit in a different way: whereas a verdict issued by the Congregation of the Index or the Holy Office was prescriptive, a clear "No" to all Catholics and no contemporary ever knew why a book was forbidden, a review, however powerful and devastating it may have been, was commendatory and left the final decision to the readers. It was up to them to follow the reviewers' verdict and to refrain from reading Tristram Shandy, which, by the way, was neither examined nor forbidden by the Roman censorship authorities. A devout Catholic, however, risked excommunication if he read A Sentimental Journey, which, albeit many years after it had been published by its author, was denounced to the Congregation of the Index by an unknown person.

The votum, written by the Camaldolese monk Albertino Bellenghi in 1819, reveals that Sterne had not managed to write a truly decent book that came up to the Catholic Church's expectations despite his contrite change of mind after Tristram Shandy. However, the first thing that stands out when examining the source material on the case in the Archive of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the fact that Sterne's name is missing in all the documents. The only name that is ever mentioned is that of the translator, Didimo Chierico, who attended to the Italian version used by the censor. (24) It is, however, only a pseudonym that the Italian novelist Ugo Foscolo (1778-1827), author of the famous Ultime Lettere di Jacopo Ortis ( 1802), used when translating Sterne's work, a veritable opus magnum, which kept him occupied for many years. (25) The censor, however, was not aware of the fact that Foscolo, many of whose works, including the Ultime Lettere, ended up on the Index, was the translator of the book that was in his hands--and that the Italian novelist played a major part in contributing to Sterne's condemnation by the Congregation of the Index. (26)

Opening his votum, Bellenghi called the Sentimental Journey a "booklet, whose only purpose is to promote obscenity, indecency and seduction by continuously abusing extracts from the Holy Bible, which the author twists in an improper and nefarious sense, and in which there are various scandalous and erroneous propositions." (27) He then pointed to various chapters that in his opinion gave proof of these charges and added a few quotations; obviously, he did not want to repeat all the author's "atrocities" or he considered them unsuitable for the cardinals' ears. (28) We shall have a brief look at two of the incriminated passages.

Bellenghi among others pointed to the chapter "The remise door," in which Yorick, Sterne's protagonist, waiting for a carriage to be rented to him, meets a beautiful woman and dares to take her hand. Thence, the atmosphere in this scene is (probably much to the displeasure of the Roman censor) erotically charged, a mood that Sterne depicts as a "pleasurable ductility [...], which spread a calmness over all my spirits" (Sterne 18). In Ugo Foscolo's translation this phrase quotes: "Tale voluttuosa arrendevolezza che conforto di dolcissima calma tutti i miei spiriti" (Sterne/Foscolo 49). Not only did he add an extra adjective ("dolcissima," which additionally comes in a superlative), but the adjective he used to translate "pleasurable," "voluttuosa" (deriving from the Latin "voluptas"), bears a stronger erotic connotation than the English original. Additionally, Foscolo, who enhanced an ample paratext to the entire translation, added an explanatory footnote after this passage. (29) Therein, he raised the question whether the reader might imagine Yorick seeing this woman as the ancient poets saw Pallas and Diana, that is, "without any veil" and naked; or whether he might see them as the antiquarians view "those statues buried by the barbarians and the zeal of the Christians in the Tiber, excavated in our times" (Sterne/Foscolo 49). With this--by itself unnecessary-footnote he expanded the chapter by a slight obscenity, additionally criticizing the way prudish Christianity dealt with antique relics. This is an obvious enhancement of Sterne's original text, which in itself contained something that the censor most probably considered as licentious, but which is fostered by the translator's semantic and paratextual enrichment.

Another chapter Bellenghi pointed to is entitled "The Case of Conscience." Therein Yorick stays in a hotel in Paris and provokes quite a scandal: he has a lady visitor, a beautiful fille de chambre, who is delivering a commission and is engaged in a long conversation by the protagonist. A young woman that spends altogether two hours in a man's room must have been a sheer scandal, to Sterne's contemporary reader as well as to the Roman censor Albertino Bellenghi. Again, the content in itself was worthy of censorship, but as in the former example, Foscolo reinforced it. Sterne has the hotel manager, who is appalled by Yorick's supposed tete-a-tete, say: "I should not have minded, [...] if you had had twenty girls [...] Provided [...] it had been but in a morning" (which supposedly was an utterly outrageous vision for Bellenghi), whereupon Yorick says "'Tis a core more [...] than I ever reckon'd upon" (Sterne 92f.). Foscolo translated this latter sentence "La e una ventina piu del mio bisogno" (Sterne/Foscolo 253). The term "bisogno," "need" (or rather "sexual need" in this case) carries a stronger erotic connotation than Sterne's "reckoning." And as the conversation goes on, Yorick asks: "And does the difference of the time of the day make a difference in the sin?" (Sterne 93), which Foscolo put as: "Che? la differenza dell'ora fa differente in Parigi anche il fallo?" (Sterne/Foscolo 253). Choosing the term "fallo" the translator used a double entendre with an overtly sexual implication, as the Italian noun il fallo means both mistake and phallus (Treccani). Presumably, Sterne himself would not have been averse to this translation, but--and this needs to be kept in mind--it was not him that chose this particular wording that ended up before the censor's eyes, but his translator, four decades after Sterne had written his novel. These two examples (and there are several more (30)) show that Laurence Sterne in nuce conceived the novel as something that was per se condemnable in the eyes of the Roman censor; the translator stressed, as it were, this condemnability by choosing a more ambiguous and explicit language and by adding ample explanations in the paratext. Finally, the book was prohibited and put on the Index on September 6, 1819.

These examples briefly touched allow for three major conclusions to be drawn as far as language and style in the context of Roman book censorship are concerned:

1. Language and style obviously played an important and supporting role in the condemnation of those books that ended up on the ominous Index Librorum Prohibitorum or that were acquitted after being examined by the Congregation of the Index or the Holy Office. They were not the prime reason, why a work was prohibited. In the eyes of the censors, the pestilential content corresponded with or was reinforced by a particular style and rhetorical devices such as irony and double entendre, which were a bete noire in the eyes of the no-nonsensical censors, as the afore-mentioned examples clearly show. They made the "wickedness" of the content more obvious and "boosted" it. At the same time, the Roman censors considered a facile style dangerous as it had the power to make a book and a rather complicated content accessible, attractive and understandable to everyone, as was the case with histories as that of David Hume.

2. Apart from that, one must not forget that books originally written in languages that were traditionally "non-Catholic" such as English or German were only read in either French or Italian translations by the Roman censors, as hardly anybody in the Curia mastered these "protestant" languages. The power and the responsibility of the translators must not be underestimated: in many cases, they implemented their own personality and style as well as the culture and the literary tradition of their respective countries to the translation. When dealing with the censorship proceedings by the two Roman censorship authorities it is therefore crucial to compare the original and the translated version, in order to understand whether the product that finally ended up before the censors' eyes was the fruit of the author's or the translator's work.

3. Finally, I shall point to a desideratum in research on Roman book censorship: a close analysis of the language and style of the censor's votums. The above quoted passages from various votums suggest that several censors left the realm of sober evaluation and made use of a pejorative, immoderate register, according to their institution's stereotypical thinking--or their personal attitude. In order to be able to draw general conclusions on the Roman censors' style, it might be illuminating to analyze whether there were common tendencies, strategies and attitudes or whether they differed, not only because of the censors' respective personalities, but possibly also because of their belonging to an order or a nationality. Of course, as is the case with censors from all institutions, the Roman world was not a monolithic block, but a world mixed up of different men, from different backgrounds and different cultural environments. They, however, pursued one goal: they sought to protect the Holy Roman Catholic Church from the wickedness of the world.

University of Munster

Works cited

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Sterne, Laurence, Foscolo, Ugo. Viaggio sentimentale di Yorick lungo la Francia e I'Ttalia, introduzione e note di Marisa Bulgheroni e Paolo Ruffilli, Garzanti, 1998.

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Wolf, Hubert. Index. Der Vatikan und die verbotenen Bucher. CH. Beck, 2006.

Woolf, Virginia. "The 'Sentimental Journey'." Laurence Sterne, edited by Gerd Rohmann, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1980, pp. 57-63.

(1) "Unter Paul IV. wurde ein "Index librorum prohibitorum" verfa[sz]t, welchen Pius IV. unter Zustimmung des Concils von Trient erweitern und vervollstandigen lie[sz]. Pius V. setzte endlich eine neue Congregation ein (Congreg. Indicis), welche neben der Congr. Inquisitionis die des Irrthums in Glaubenssachen oder unsittlicher Grundsatze verdachtigen Schriften zu prufen und notigenfalls auf den Index librorum prohibitorum zu setzen hat. [...] Der hl. Stuhl und die romischen Congregationen sind die oberste Auctoritat, deren Bucherverbote fur die gesamte Kirche bindende Kraft haben. Fur jede einzelne Diocese ist aber der Bischof berechtigt und verpflichtet, die Erzeugnisse der Presse welcher Art nur immer, insoweit Glaube und Sittlichkeit von ihr beruhrt werden, zu uberwachen und die Glaubigen vor verderblichen Wirkungen derselben nach Moglichkeit zu schutzen [... |" (Pruner 117).

(2) On Roman book censorship and the Index in general see esp. Wolf and Schwedt.

(3) In the eighteenth century, the two Roman censorship authorities proceeded against the creme de la creme of the English Enlightenment: John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) was forbidden by the Holy Office on June 2, 1734; the Congregation of the Index prohibited Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan ( 1651 ) on August 29, 1701 and his philosophical works on May 7,1703, as well as David Hume's Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding (1850) on January 19, 1761, to quote just a few examples. Moreover, both congregations were particularly interested in works that were critical of the Roman Catholic Church and its history such as Alexander Gordon's The Lives of Pope Alexander VI, and His Son Caesar Borgia (1729, forbidden by the Congregation of the Index on March 16, 1733) or Conyers Middleton's A Letter from Rome, Shewing an Exact Conformity Between Popery and Paganism: or, the Religion of the Present Romans to be Derived Entirely from that of their Heathen Ancestors (1729, forbidden by the Holy Office on March 12, 1755). On the censorship proceedings against Samuel Richardson's Pamela in 1744 and Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man, An Essay on Criticism and The Rape of the Lock in 1748-1750 see Richter.

(4) Ephraim Chambers' Cyclopaedia, or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (1728), for instance, which was to inspire Diderot and d'Alembert when compiling their Encyclopedie (1751-1780), was translated into Italian in the course of the eighteenth century; the Congregation of the Index and the Holy Office repeatedly examined individual volumes and finally prohibited the entire cyclopedia on May 19, 1760.

(5) "[...] sia per i pensieri, sia per lo stile [...]" ("Relazione della Congregazione Generale dell'Indice tenuta la mattina del di 29 Gennaio 1835," in Archivio della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede (henceforth ACDF), Index Protocolli (henceforth Prot.) 1ll (1830-1835), fol. 524r-527v, here fol. 525r).

(6) "Questo libro contiene lo sviluppo delie dottrine gia note ed altre volte condannate, di questo irreligiosissimo scrittore, anzi questo si puo considerare come il piu pericoloso di tutte quante le sue Opere; in quanto che le altre sono dirette per lo stile, per i pensieri ai soli dotti, mentre questa e fatta per tutte le classi, ed e come suol dirsi un libro popolare." (Untitled and undated votum written by Nicholas Wiseman, in ACDF, Index Prot. 1ll (1830-1835), fol. 551r-552v, here fol. 551r).

(7) "Si durera poca fatica a concludere, che questa storia scritta da un empio, come a tutti e noto, debba essere proibita, tanto per le inique dottrine, che vi si contengono, quanto per la maniera seducentissima, colla quale e scritta." (Untitled and undated votum written by Prospero Piatti, in ACDF Index Prot. 109 (1827), fol. 237r-240v, here fol. 237r).

(8) "Per quanto riguarda la parte artistica e un opera di gran pregio. Le bellezze dello stile, la robustezza, e grafica descrizione delia narrazione, non meno che la vasta e profonda erudizione con cui viene adornata, hanno moite attrattive per il lettore." (Untitled votum written by Bernard Smith, 10 August, 1857, in ACDF Index Prot. 119 (1854-1857), fol. 902r-905v, here fol. 903r).

(9) "[...] lo ha condito di vaghissime erudizioni, lo ha scritto con uno stile elegante, e cosi ha reso il suo veleno piu facile a dilatarsi e rovinare le menti incaute, che si provassero a leggerlo [...]" (Untitled and undated votum written by Giovanni Battista Zanobetti, in ACDF Sanctum Offizium (henceforth SO) Censurae Librorum (henceforth CL) 1755-56, fol. 19r-25r, here fol. 25r).

(10) "Moite e molte altre proposizioni false, irreligiose, indecenti si potrebbero aggiungere, per tacere di quanto spetta alPardito dispregio delie attuali civili autorita, esaltando il solo governo repubblicano o costituzionale, e la liberte della stampa; ma sembra bastare il gia detto per far conoscere che in tal libro vanno come a gara la irreligione e la garrulita donnesca la piu ributtante; il detto [asperso] con quelle cosi dette grazie di stile satirico, che tanto piacciono al secolo corrotto." (Untitled and undated votum written by Placido Zurla, in ACDF Index Prot. 105 (1821-1822), fol. 181r-182v, here fol. 182v).

(11) SeeAmadieu.

(12) On the Shelleys' stay in Italy and Rome see Pite, Webb and Sachs.

(13) On Shelley and atheism see Hopps and Tinkler-Villani.

(14) On the suppression of Queen Mab see esp. Grimes and Kolkey.

(15) It was, in fact, a pirated edition of Shelley's works printed by Charles Daly. Therein contained were "The Cenci," "Dedication to Mary," "The Revolt of Islam," "Queen Mab," "Prometheus Unbound," "Rosalind and Helen," "Epipsychidion," "Adonais," "Hellas," "Julian and Maddalo," "The Witch of Atlas," "The Triumph of Life," "Alastor," "The Sensitive Plant" as well as "Miscellaneous Poems."

(16) "Poche parole bastano per formare giudizio delie poesie di Schelley [sic] commessemi ad esame dal Rmo P. M. Segretario. Sono versi di un protestante, anzi di un ateo, e cio sarebbe sufficiente, perche l'Eminenze Loro Reverendissime applicassero la regola generale dell'indice intorno ai libri degli eretici." (Untitled votum written by Giacinto De' Ferrari, 26 October, 1852, in ACDF Index Prot. 117 (1852-1853), fol. 317rv, here fol. 317r).

(17) "Sono tanti i deliri che va gracchiando questo poetastro di bettola, che tal Poema fu condannato per immorale dalle leggi inglesi." (Untitled votum written by Giacinto De' Ferrari, 26 October, 1852, in ACDF Index Prot. 117 (1852-1853), fol. 317rv, here 317v).

(18) "[...] cotali poesie meriterebbero di essere bruciate [...]" (Untitled votum written by Giacinto De' Ferrari, 26 October, 1852, in ACDF Index Prot. 117(1852-1853), fol. 317rv, here fol. 317v).

(19) "Ma se convenga inserirne esplicitamente il nome sull'Indice, mi rimetto pienamente, a quanto giudicheranno le LL. Emze Rme. A mio subordinato parere non crederei opportuno, giacche sono gia proibite a jure [...] Altronde converrebbe riempir l'Indice di nomi protestanti se si dovessero esaminare tanti prodotti di acattoliche penne, che fin dal nascere sono percosse dall'anatema della Chiesa." (Untitled votum written by Giacinto De' Ferrari, 26 October, 1852, in ACDF Index Prot. 117 (1852-1853), fol. 317rv, here fol. 317v).

(20) On A Sentimental Journey in general see e.g. Woolf and Curley.

(21) On Sterne's "system of imitation," which is an important issue in research on the author, see esp. Lamb and Hawley. Nota bene: all of his models except for Cervantes ended up on the Index or were examined by the Roman censorship authorities: Rabelais by the Council of Trent as a heretic of the first class, Montaigne by decree of

(22) June, 1676, Defoe by decree of 16 January, 1743, Richardson by decree of 15 April, 1744, Swift by decree of 11 January, 1734, whereas Pope's works were examined by both congregations, but finally acquitted.

(22) He was, for instance, desperately in love with 22-year-old Elizabeth Draper, the wife of an East India Company officer, a passion he dealt with in his Journal to Eliza; see e.g. Madoff.

Apart from that, he dared to publish a collection of his sermons under his pseudonym in 1760, The Sermons of Mr. Yorick, which was a huge scandal to several contemporaries. In May 1760, Owen Ruffhead, a reviewer writing for the Monthly Review called it "the greatest outrage against sense and decency that has been offered since the first establishment of Christianity--an outrage which would scarce have been tolerated even in the days of paganism" and added indignantly: "But are solemn dictates of religion fit to be conveyed from the mouths of Buffoons and ludicrous Romancers? Would any man believe that a Preacher was in earnest, who should mount the pulpit in a Harlequin's coat}"?(Howes 77). On the sermons see e.g. Gerard.

(23) The same is, for instance, true for Lady Sydney Morgan's travelogue Italy (1821), which was derided and slammed in the British press and prohibited by the Congregation of the Index as well. The author of the present article is examining her case in an upcoming PhD thesis.

(24) The entire book title is reproduced in the decree: "Viaggio sentimentale di Yorich [sic] lungo la Francia, e l'ltalia: Traduzione di Didimo Chierico = Pisa coi Caratteri di Didot 1813. Opus Anglice editum sed tantum in Italica versione ad S. Congregationem relatum" ("Decretum," 6 September, 1819, ACDF Index Prot. 104 (1819-1820), fol. 2r).

(25) On Foscolo's translation of A Sentimental Journey see e.g. Alcini and Santovetti.

(26) While the Ultime lettere were prohibited on 19 January, 1824, his lecture Sull'origine, e limiti della Giustizia was forbidden on 28 July, 1834 and his commentary on Dante's Divina Commedia on 8 August, 1845.

(27) "[...] questo libercolo, il di cui scopo e Poscenita e la laidezza, e la seduzione con un continuo abbuso [sic] dei passi della Sacra Scrittura che si contorcono ad un senso Iaido ed infame; ed in cui trovansi disseminate varie proposizioni scandalose ed erronee." (Untitled votum written by Albertino Bellenghi, 6 September, 1819, in ACDF Index Prot. 104 (1818-1819), fol. 9r-10r, here 9r).

(28) "Non credo opportuno di trascrivere gl'interi Capitoli osceni, e disonesti de' quali e ripieno l'intero opuscolo; e sara sufficiente che noti Ii seguenti." (Untitled votum written by Albertino Bellenghi, 6 September, 1819, in ACDF Index Prot. 104 (1818-1819), fol. 9r-10r, here fol. 9r).

(29) The footnote quotes: "A chi per propria discolpa taccia di licenziosa la fantasia del povero Yorick, parra qui ch'ei mirasse la sua nuova diva senz'alcun velo come Pallade e Diana furono gia vedute dalle fantasie dei poeti ne' lavacri de' fiumi. Ma i lettori casti crederanno anzi ch'egli piu veramente alluda alle fantasie innocenti degli antiquari, i quali assegnano un nome d'eroina o di diva a ciascheduna di quelle statue sommerse dall'ignoranza de' barbari e dallo zelo de' cristiani nel Tevere, e dissotterrate a' di nostri." (Sterne/Foscolo 49).

(30) The author of the present article is dealing with the cases of Shelley and Sterne in her PhD thesis as well.
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Author:Richter, Elisabeth-Marie
Publication:The Romanic Review
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2018
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