The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France

Recommended by William St Clair, and 1 others. See all reviews

Ranked #73 in French History

Robert Darnton's work is one of the main reasons that cultural history has become an exciting study central to our understanding of the past.

More popular than the canon of the great Enlightenment philosophers were other books, also banned by the regime, written and sold "under the cloak." These formed a libertine literature that was a crucial part of the culture of dissent in the Old Regime. Robert Darnton explores the cultural and political significance of these "bad" books and introduces readers to three of the most influential illegal best-sellers, from which he includes...

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William St Clair The French Revolution was driven by ideas, and once you start trying to trace ideas you have to consider the print in which ideas were carried. As a young man, Darnton discovered in Switzerland the archive of an offshore publishing firm that smuggled books into France before the French Revolution. It had all the records about the paper, the production, even on the mules that carried banned books across the Alps. (Source)

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