June 14, 2010

Relief for the Unread, An Anniversary

On this date in 1966, the Vatican abolished the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, originally instituted in 1559 to keep good Catholics current on what it was they were forbidden to read. The Index went through 20 editions in its 400+ years of existence, the final refinement of its accumulated distaste printed in 1948, specifying 4000 titles and the entire works of over 500 authors. From the first, hand in hand with the Index proper went wide-ranging and variously effective efforts to expunge from the stock of available reading material works identified there.

Since the moment the Index was nullified, the whole domain of reading has been thrown open to the searching eye, more's the pity. A judicious list, however contentious, of what's safely left unread would really come in handy some days.

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