The relevance of book expurgation in the procedures of the Portuguese Inquisition (1536-1821): a systematic and individualized approach Descrição

In 2013, analysts of Weibo, a Chinese microblog platform, described procedures, timings and efficiency of expurgation through word deletion within the messages (Tao Zhu 2013). They were concerned by the issue of the control of texts and forms of expression, viz one of the three main fields of research on censorship - the particular restrictions on specified media or content pushed by an organisation or group (Winfield 2017). My project deals with analogous, massive phenomena in the early-modern western world, in particular in Portugal, Spain and their Empire, organised by States, Churches and inquisitorial bureaucracies.

Early modern censorship studies make a small place to expurgatio in comparison with prohibitio. These two modalities were systematically distinguished by institutional tools, the Indexes of forbidden and/or expurgated books. In these catalogues, updated editions along the centuries, are listed the condemned authors and titles: whereas prohibition leaves few traces, expurgated books are “talkative”, hence the attention we should pay to them.



The project aims at inventorying, describing and analysing systematically the phenomena that are observed in thousands of books; reflecting on practices of control that were implemented in the same but also in different ways; providing databases due to contribute to comparative approaches (Darnton 2014) and a mapping of the book control. Questioning a period overwhelmed by the Gutenbergian revolution (Barbier 2016), when mass production of books transformed the access to the written world, the project deals with the following issues: how was achieved the control of books and texts and what was it achieved? What can we learn from this history on the material, intellectual, political aspects of the early-modern book? to what extent the Portuguese case addresses our concerns in the history of censorship?

The systematic approach I achieved in a significant field, the medical book (Baudry 2017), has proven to be a source of a wide range of information on three aspects: bibliographical data, provenance (Pearson 1994), censoring. For ex. degrees of efficiency can be established. The local investigations have shown strong and varied connections to other geographical and cultural areas, at first Spain. 

Início: 2018
Investigador Principal: Hervé Baudry (CHAM)

Entidade(s) Financiadora(s)
- Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia

Unidade de Investigação Principal
- CHAM — Centro de Humanidades / Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas/Universidade Nova de Lisboa | Universidade dos Açores

Instituição Coordenadora
- Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas / Universidade Nova de Lisboa