Re: Medical journals are dead. Long live medical journals

From: Jim Till <till_at_OCI.UTORONTO.CA>
Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 10:06:38 -0500

Re 'control': I'm posting too many messages, but here's some more (but
much less recent!) history that I believe might be of interest to visitors
to this forum.

Excerpts from The Oxford Companion to English Literature [1]:

"The introduction of printing immensely increased facilities for the
spread of sedition and heresy, grave dangers always threatening the life
of governments and the church ..."; "...the requirement that books be
licenced for printing by the privy council or other royal nominees is
introduced in 1538".

"The incorporation [of the Stationer's Company in 1557] was advantageous
both to the book trade and the State, for the craft gained in dignity and
organization, while the facilities for the supervision of printed matter
were improved".

"In 1586 ... an ordinance of the Star Chamber directed that no printing
press should be set up in any place other than London, apart from one in
each of the university towns of Oxford and Cambridge ...".

"A further stringent decree (1637), imposing severe penalties on offending
printers, was among the last measures of the Star Chamber; but the
abolition of the Chamber ... in 1641 did not carry with it any liberation
of the press".

"By this time journalism, a new element in English letters, had come into
existence. It had its origin in the manuscript newsletters which, after
the introduction of regular postal services, were dispatched to
subscribers from the metropolis. The licensing system and the Star
Chamber decrees ... proved for a long time an impediment to the
publication of any sort of printed journal".

"It is not surprising that at this period of political excitement [during
the Thirty Years War] similar but unauthorized newsbooks were soon
produced in large numbers, supplementing or replacing the newsletters of
the scriveners".

Some other relevant dates [2]:

1618-48: The Thirty Years War (which began in Bohemia as a reaction to
imperial suppression of Protestantism and quickly spread to other Hapsburg
domains in the Holy Roman Empire).

1561-1626: Francis Bacon
1564-1642: Galileo
1578-1657: William Harvey
1596-1650: Rene Descartes
1660: Royal Society of London founded


[1] The Oxford Companion to English Literature, Fourth Edition,
Oxford University Press, 1967. Appendix 1, "Censorship and the Law
of the Press", Section I, "The Control of the Press", pp. 911-915.

[2] Macmillan Concise Dictionary of World History, 1983.

--Jim Till
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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