Markers of Illegality
This option menu enables users to exclude or include books according to a variety of measures of illegality drawn from a variety of sources and ancien regime jurisdictions and covering the years up to 1789. As legality and illegality were flexible concepts under the ancien regime, particularly in France, there was no one way of determining what was illegal; and illegality embraced a wide spectrum, from innocuous works published without going through the proper system of legal permissions and censorship, through pirate editions which violated the privileges of authorised publishers (including many Swiss editions), to works considered a serious threat to order, religion or public morals. This means that any measure of illegality can only be indicative rather than comprehensive. Note that the option is inclusive: i.e. if a book falls into one of the categories that is switched on, it will feature in responses to data queries, even if it falls into another category that is switched off. Note that many works have more than one marker of illegality, and also that works published for the first time after 1789 are unlikely to feature. In addition, no one measure is comprehensive, and some works which would have been found highly reprehensible in many jurisdictions feature on none of these lists. In addition, we have made no effort to identify pirate editions. It should also be noted that the majority of religious works traded by the STN would be considered illegal (and sometimes highly so) in France and some other Catholic jurisdictions.
Works with no Illegality Markers This option approximates to the legal sector of the book trade. As noted above, this it may nevertheless include pirate editions (eg. Swiss reprints of works with privilèges in France), illegal works published after 1789 or other works persecuted by the authorities that do not feature on any of the lists below (including a handful of works taken from the 'Papal Index' and 'Other illegality markers' rubrics, which are functional for this purpose only).
Books in Darnton’s Illegal Corpus (France, 1769-89) This option covers works in the STN database which feature in Darnton’s Corpus of Clandestine Literature in France, 1769-1789. Compiled from police and customs confiscation records, catalogues of livres philosophiques, and the records of the STN, Darnton’s Corpus represents a fair approximation of the literature that the French ancien regime government found most reprehensible. It should be noted that many of the works that Darnton records as having been ordered from the STN do not appear in the actual sales records of the STN; while many works in the Corpus for which he has no orders do appear, and sometimes sold in significant numbers.
Works on Joseph II’s Index (Austrian Empire, 1788) After a period of liberalisation, Joseph II’s index represents a renewed period of repression in the Austrian Empire, and appeared at the end of our main run of data.
Starred Works on Joseph II’s Index (Austrian Empire, 1788) The Starred works on Joseph’s Index were considered to be the most reprehensible and dangerous, so have been included as a separate category for investigation. Note that the previous category includes all of these works as well.
Banned Books in Poinçot’s Inventory of the Bastille (France, 1789) These books, which feature in the Bastille’s secret dépôt, were catalogued on an inventory by the bookseller Poinçot in 1790, and were usually highly illegal works. (Note: the original list included a few legal works left in the Bastille by prisoners: these works were identified in Robert Dawson's
Confiscations at Customs and are not considered illegal works for our purposes.)
Books on the Papal Index (1786) This functionality is not currently available. We hope to provide it as part of a future upgrade, using the 1786 version of the Index because it appeared closest to the end of our main time period (the vast bulk of the STN’s trade, as recorded in the database is prior to 1 June 1787).
Other illegality markers [Durand dossier and others] This functionality is not currently available. We hope to provide it as part of a future upgrade. The STN agent Durand systematically marked illegal works in orders he took while on tour. These and miscellaneous other measures of illegality (as noted on notes on individual works and gleaned in the course of the project) are included in this category. The miscellaneous measures have not been gathered systematically and users may therefore want to exclude them as a data integrity issue.