In February 1663, the London printer John Twyn was sentenced to a most terrible fate: he was to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Twyn’s offense? He had dared to print an anonymous pamphlet that justified the right of rebellion against the king. In his jail cell, Twyn told those who begged him to confess the source of the treason that “it was not his principle to betray the author.” The next day, Twyn’s head was duly placed on a Ludgate spike.
The alumni of the vast people’s University of China are typical of the post–Mao Zedong generation. Every Friday evening several hundred gather informally under the pine trees of a little square in Beijing’s Haidian district, in the so-called English Corner, to hold “English conversation.”