Limits and Legacies of the Enlightenment; Essays in Honor of Robert Darnton
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Penn State University Press
Preface and Acknowledgments
In a pathbreaking essay appearing in the Journal of Modern History in 1971, Robert Darnton sketched out a new approach to the historical study of the Enlightenment. For him, it was not enough to “scale the peaks” of eighteenthcentury philosophy...
Un garçon plein d'esprit mais extrémement dangereux: The Darnton subversion
It is not an easy task to discuss Robert Darnton’s achievements. I was a bit foolish when I accepted Charles Walton’s invitation to do so, and since my reckless acceptance, I have been torn between the pleasure and honor of such an assignment and the impossibility...
Part I: Making News
Chapter 1: A Trojan Horse in Parliament: International Publicity in the Age of the American Revolution
In the late summer of 1778, with France and Britain openly at war, the editor of the Courier de l’Europe defended his right to publish a French-language newspaper in London. An English reader had recently accused the editor, Antoine-Joseph...
Chapter 2: "The Bastard Child of a Noble House": Détective and Middle-Class Culture in Interwar France
From his earliest writings on the “information ages” of the past and present, Robert Darnton has made the point that “news” is not found but made. Darnton’s sparkling memoir of his years as a rookie journalist, first published in 1975 and significantly...
Part II: Print, Paper, Markets, and States
Chapter 3: Who Were the Booksellers and Printers of Eighteenth-Century France?
At any given point during the eighteenth century, there were more than two hundred master printers and more than six hundred booksellers in France.1 They formed the crucial link connecting authors with readers: printers gave form to texts and...
Chapter 4: Making the Fair Trader: Papermaking, the Excise, and the English State, 1700–1815
The “fair trader,” proclaimed generations of English officials, needed protection.1 He was worth cultivating because he paid his full share of the excise duty, the tax on the goods crafted and grown in England’s shops and fields. But his numbers...
Chapter 5: Commerce with Books: Reading Practices and Book Diffusion at the Habsburg Court in Florence (1765–1790)
Robert Darnton’s pathbreaking work on the social history of ideas has made scholars aware of the key role that eighteenth-century booksellers had in spreading the ideologies of the Enlightenment. Although he has never provided a theoretical definition...
Part III: Police and Opinion
Chapter 6: Invasion of Lorient: Rumor, Public Opinion, and Foreign Politics in 1740s Paris
Louis XV, attended by queen and mistress, was in good humor at the château de Choisy, despite news from Brittany of the British invasion of Lorient. He settled at table, according to Madame de Luynes, to enjoy a good meal when a sudden headache...
Chapter 7: Book Seizures and the Politics of Repression in Paris,1787–1789
In addition to the routine investigation of civil disputes and common crimes in their immediate neighborhoods, Parisian commissaires de police in the eighteenth century sometimes came to specialize in repressing a particular category of crime throughout...
Part IV: Enlightenment in Revolution
Chapter 8: A Grub Street Hack Goes to War
In 1971, Robert Darnton conjured from the archives, in brilliantly vivid prose, the portrait of a peculiar and compelling type of eighteenth-century Frenchman: the “Grub Street hack” turned radical revolutionary.1 In some ways, the hack actually seemed...
Chapter 9: Reading In Extremis: Revolutionaries Respond to Rousseau
Concerning the Jacobin Republic, the eminent American historian Robert R. Palmer wrote in 1941, “The new state, so far as it came from books, was to draw its inspiration from The Social Contract.”1 This essay addresses the parenthetical, “so far as it came...
Chapter 10: Les graines de la discorde: Print, Public Spirit, and Free Market Politics in the French Revolution
In his The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France, Robert Darnton showed how the booming market of book-length libels eroded the Old Regime’s legitimacy.1 Often written as histories of the Bourbon monarchy, these illegal...
Part V: Enlightenment Universalism and Cultural Difference
Chapter 11: The Limits of Tolerance: Jews, the Enlightenment, and the Fear of Premature Burial
In 1798, a little-known German journal, the Schlesische Provinzialblätter, published a report about a case of narrowly averted tragedy. It concerned a young Jewish boy in Breslau who had been pronounced dead in November of the previous year. Actually...
Chapter 12: From Cosmopolitan Anticolonialism to Liberal Imperialism: French Intellectuals and Muslim North Africa in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries
It has been fashionable during the last three decades to attack the Enlightenment. This attack has come mainly from the Left and has been associated with the victors of the 1960s civil rights and feminist movements, which have so changed the character...
Photo of Robert Darnton
Appendix: Publications by Darnton
List of Contributors
Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 2 illustrations
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Penn State Series in the History of the Book
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