aprobación / censura ☜☞ aprobación / censura

In the context of licensing a piece of literature for printing, censura does not mean censure or criticism, or indeed censorship: it means “dictamen que se emitía acerca de una obra”, i.e., a judgement or an opinion. The illustration shows that Miguel Gómez de Escobar, “Vicar of Madrid” (deputizing ultimately for the archdiocese of Toledo—Madrid was not yet a diocese), asked Manuel de Jesús María, a Discalced Trinitarian, to give his opinion on Glorias de Jesús cautivo, y prodigios del rescate. Brother Manuel found nothing in this play “que se oponga à nuestra Santa Fè Catholica, y buenas costumbres” (a standard phrase of approval), “y antes bien muy digna en todo de la Prensa,” a clear statement that the play could be printed. He dated his approval 20 November 1732. Two days later Gómez de Escobar put his signature to the Licencia del ordinario (permission of the ordinary, i.e., of the bishop of the diocese), which had been drawn up by his secretary Joseph Fernández (“trey dos” is a printing error for “treinta y dos”). This is the religious license.

Immediately beneath this Don Joseph de Cañizares, Lieutenant in the Cavalry and “Fiscal de las Comedias de España” (the person whose job it was to license plays for performance) provides his aprobación. This is the dramatist José de Cañizares (1676–1750). M.P.S. (Muy Poderoso Señor) and V.A. (Vuestra Alteza) remind us that the civil license was granted by a royal council, and that the king had to be asked for it. For practical purposes this document was the same as the previous one. In theory, the censura, the judgement, could be positive or negative, while an aprobación could only be positive (although it could, of course, be refused; the word aprobación was often used for obtaining both licenses). Cañizares’ document is dated 20 November and is followed by the Licencia del Consejo, granted and signed by Miguel Fernández Munilla, secretary to the king and the Council (27 November). This is the civil license. It is followed by the Fee de Erratas (15 December 1732, signed by the Corrector General por su Magestad) and the Suma de la tassa (15 November 1732, issued by the Council of Castile; presumably “November” should be “December”). Few sueltas printed all this rigmarole: “Con licencia” sufficed, and we do not know how often printers were asked for evidence. [DWC]
  • Example of an aprobación.

    Las glorias de Jesús cautivo y prodigios del rescate

    [Private collection SzT]

<em>aprobación / censura</em>
<em>aprobación / censura</em>