Does free speech exist? The limits of expression, from social media and hate speech to the Leveson Inquiry, now provoke intense debate. In fact, since the 17th century, England has been seen by many as the cradle of the free press. This session is a chance to see, handle and discuss historic texts and images relating to freedom of speech, from the archives of Palace Green Library. From John Milton’s Areopagitica, the first English language book to argue that ideas should be left free, to William Prynne, who had his ears cropped for seditious libel, these artefacts offer a fascinating glimpse into how dangerous ideas have been handled over the past 400 years.
With Dr Alex Barber, Durham University