The Plato-Socrates "Defense of Truth and Sanity" Act

    All of the propositions above might easily be derived from Plato's works.  How would you defend poetry and prose fiction, the artists who create them, and the teachers who train the artists?  If you have taken English 211, you should remember at least one way to do so.  There may be other defenses of literary creativity you can invent for yourself. 

    In the medieval and renaissance eras, neo-platonic opposition to books, and to authors, led to violent actions against them.  Individual manuscript books were burned by the Inquisition, in front of their authors, if possible, to punish the incorrect ideas they were thought to contain.  Whole libraries were burned when Henry VIII's Act of Supremacy and other subsequent acts of Parliament dissolved the monasteries which had collected the now-heretical Catholic books (and secular ones, too) between the eighth and the fifteenth centuries.  Finally, the Inquisition also burned authors, most notably Giordano Bruno, for arguing that the universe might contain more worlds than this one.  Call him sci-fy's first martyr.

    Please do not think that, in this era, such an assault upon literary creativity cannot happen.  In Anglo-English history, the first concerted effort to banish secular (especially erotic) literature of all sorts occurred in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, culminating in the Puritan Parliamentary armies' victory over the Royalists in the Civil War (1642-49).  The English theaters were closed for over a decade.  Public performances of Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Jonson were banned, in England and in the American Colonies, especially the New England settlements which were populated by members of Puritan sects so severe that they fled England to practice their austere religion.  I know--it's not exactly the way they taught you to think about the "Pilgrims" in grade school, but it's also true.  Puritanical politicians and preachers object to and attempt to ban works of art with predictable regularity in American culture, and they raise important issues about literature's potential moral effects upon the mind.