Category Archives: Publishing History

Banning a Book Makes Me Desperate to Read It

Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio’s works were placed in the Vatican’s Index of Forbidden Books on this date in 1911. The Vatican considered books on this list to be either lascivious, heretical, or anti-clerical. Now where can we get a copy? … Continue reading

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“Indecent Exposure”

On this date in 1926, H.L. Mencken was arrested for possessing and selling “indecent” literature after he sold a copy of The American Mercury to the secretary of the Boston Watch and Ward Society. The issue contained Herbert Asbury’s story … Continue reading

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England’s The Daily Courant Debuts

England’s first national daily newspaper, The Daily Courant, is published for the first time on this date in 1702.

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Pilgrim’s Progress Was Published on This Date

John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is published on this date in 1678. Bunyan wrote the first part of his Christian allegory whilst in prison for preaching without a license. Read Pilgrim’s Progress here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/21171

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A Whole New World

On this date in 1493, Christopher Columbus writes an open letter detailing his discoveries in the New World. The letter is widely distributed when he returns to Portugal.

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“The Great Internet Sex Panic Act of 1995”

On this date in 1996, the Communications Decency Act was signed. The act, also called the “Great Internet Sex Panic Act of 1995,” was the US Congress’s first notable attempt to regulate pornography on the Internet.

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Byron’s Bestseller Bows on This Date

Lord Byron’s poem The Corsair sells 10,000 copies on this, the date of its publication, in 1814. You can read it here: http://archive.org/stream/corsairtale00byrorich/corsairtale00byrorich_djvu.txt

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“Fleshly” Poet Pounces Pundit

On this date in 1871, Dante Gabriel Rosetti publishes “The Stealthy School of Criticism” in response to “The Fleshly School of Poetry,” an anonymous attack on realistic, sensual poets like himself.

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“All in the Valley of Death / Rode the Six Hundred”

On this date in 1854, Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade” is published a mere six weeks after the Battle of Balaclava.

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“For There Is Nothing Lost, That May Be Found, If Sought” 

On this date in 1590, Edmund Spenser’s Fairie Queene was registered for publication with the Stationer’s Company.

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