"He sweated with it, but no matter what language he tried, though he had been a professional writer for a generation and knew his subject cold, the lecture refused to move past page one."
I've got two more texts on Google which contain that phrase:
I don't know if it is really an idiom or not, but it seems to be rarely used because I've only two results on Google and couldn't find out in any dictionary. Does anyone know its meaning?
To move past page one is to move to the next step. Compare it to reading a book. If you have moved past page one you are making progress.