chapter  1
26 Pages

Assessing Boundaries – Censorship and Translation An Introduction

ByFRANCESCA BILLIANI

Censorship of the English stage goes back in an unbroken line to the office of the Master of the Revels in the sixteenth century, but probably existed in some form or another for as long as there was any dramatic tradition. Richard Findlater would take the origins of censorship back further to the foundation of the Revels Office in 1545, or even earlier to the 1543 act "for the advancement of true religion and the abolishment of the contrary". The Lord Chamberlain could refuse a licence for anything which in his opinion threatened "the preservation of good manners, decorum, or of the public peace". Comedy was something very different, especially when it consisted of a satyr play, Euripide's Cyclops with its chorus of priapic satyrs, and Aristophanes whose eleven plays are sufficiently full of jokes about bodily functions for it to be almost impossible to detach the socio-political comedy from the scatological.