Recent links of note:
Does Disruption Violate Free Speech?
Howard Gillman and Erwin Chemerinsky, The Chronicle of Higher Education
This week in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Howard Gillman and Erwin Chemerinsky, the authors of the recently published Free Speech on Campus (Yale University Press), penned a nuanced takedown of those who suggest that the act of shutting down controversial campus speakers is itself an act of free speech rather than a violation of the First Amendment. Gillman and Chemerinsky’s stance rests on the following distinction: a speaker who has been invited to address an audience in a particular place at a particular time has constitutional protection from malevolent groups that disrupt and shut down their presentation (otherwise known as the “heckler’s veto”), a protection that an uninvited orator who merely wishes to opine in a completely open and public space lacks. Of course, one would hope that—on campuses ostensibly devoted to free thought—even controversial opinions presented in the public sphere might be met with reasoned and considerate critique rather than mob-enacted censorship.
“Chaucer in the original vellum”
A. S. G. Edwards, The Times Literary Supplement
A charming account from The Times Literary Supplement yesterday describes the unconventional provenance of a collection of Geoffrey Chaucer and other Old English manuscripts newly gifted to Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. For the past fifty or so years, the collection rested in the private home of the Japanese scholar Toshiyuki Takamiya in Tokyo. Takamiya was reliably generous and hospitable to scholars of Middle English in sharing his collection, but, after the Japanese earthquake in 2011, he considered moving the significant body of original manuscripts by Chaucer, John Gower, William Langland, and other writers of English verse and prose to a more permanent and safe home. Now the collection finds itself at Yale in the stunning Gordon Bunshaft–built Beinecke Library, which is, as a result of the move, now the holder of more Chaucer manuscripts (and Middle English manuscripts generally) than any library in North America.
From our pages:
Leann Davis Alspaugh