The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France

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9780002556361: The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France

What causes revolutions? How does public opinion influence events? This work answers these questions by asking what the French people read in the 18th century. The answer lies only partially in the canon of the great Enlightenment philosophers: Voltaire, Diderot, Montesquieu, Rousseau. More popular than these works were other books bought and sold "under the cloak". Salacious, blasphemous, often pornographic and treasonous, these formed a libertine literature that undercut all the orthodox values of the old regime. This history of these books, and of the booksellers who sold them, presents an idiosyncratic guide to the ancien regime and its citizens.

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From Publishers Weekly:

More specialized than The Great Cat Massacre, Darnton's latest still cogently demonstrates through tables, case studies, analysis and anecdotes just how different the pre-Revolutionary French were from postmodern Americans. In this second volume of a trilogy that began with The Business of Enlightenment, Darnton returns to the extensive publishing records of the Societe typographique de Neuchatel (STN) to trace the demand for books forbidden as a threat to morals and politics. These "philosophical books," as they were called, included Rousseau's Social Contract. But with only one order in STN's records, it was hardly a bestseller. Accordingly, Darnton focuses on three widely disseminated books representing different popular genres: the pornographic Therese philosophe (probably by Marquis d'Argens); the philosophical utopian fantasy L'An 2440 by Louis-Sebastien Mercier; and the libelle (think libelous) Anecdotes sur Mme la comtesse du Barry ascribed to Mathieu-Francois Pidansat de Mairobert. His discussion of the distribution, reception and influence of these books is convincing and careful (general readers may find some sections on methodology a little too careful). Darnton sees these works as literature, not just sociological artifacts; and, if lengthy excerpts from L'An 2440 seem a little dated, those from Therese and Anecdotes are still ribaldly amusing.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

With this volume, Darnton consolidates his position as one of the most innovative and influential historians of 18th-century France. For over 25 years, Darnton (Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of European History, Princeton) has been studying reading habits and book selling during the period often referred to as the Enlightenment. The present work is published conjointly with a companion volume, The Corpus of Clandestine Literature in France, 1769-1789. The latter gives statistical details for what Forbidden Bestsellers covers more descriptively. The gist of what Darnton says is that philosophes like Voltaire and Rousseau had far less impact on French readers than did the anonymous authors of scandalous, libelous, treasonous, and/or pornographic works, most of which were smuggled into France from the Netherlands, Switzerland, or the German states. Taken together, they had a corrosive effect on all established values and practices and thus contributed to the outbreak of the French Revolution. Very highly recommended for all libraries.?T.J. Schaeper, St. Bonaventure Univ., N.Y.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Darnton, Robert
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Book Description HarperCollins, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. A few small marks to the page edges. A slight tan to the page edges. Minor Shelfwear. Good condition is defined as: a copy that has been read but remains in clean condition. All of the pages are intact and the cover is intact and the spine may show signs of wear. The book may have minor markings which are not specifically mentioned. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day. Bookseller Inventory # mon0007279804

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, London, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. Good condition, a number of pages have been annotated and underlined in pencil however the rest of the pages still remain clean and bright, book and dust jacket have slight shelf wear. This work reveals the illegal book trade in France during the 18th century and explores the cultural and political significance of "bad" books. The author introduces three of the most influential illegal bestsellers, "Therese Philosophe", "L'An 2440" and "Anecdotes sur Mme La Comtesse du Barry". Published in 1996. Bookseller Inventory # 9004658

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Book Description HarperCollins, London, 1996. Soft cover. Book Condition: Very Good. No inscription, unmarked, mildly tanned, tight, some cornerwear. We post daily Mon-Sat. Size: 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Book. Bookseller Inventory # 009325

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Book Description London: HarperCollinsPublishers [Harper Collins Publishers], 1996. 23.4 x 15.3 cm. xxiv + 440 pp. Occasional text illustrations; notes; index. Original illustrated laminated card wrappers. ISBN 0-00255636-7. CN 4060 on rear cover, and no publisher denoted on the spine, suggesting issue by a book club. F. A study of the trade in subversive, often pornographic literature, in 18th century France, with examples translated into English. Bookseller Inventory # 3125

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Book Description HarperCollins, London, 1996. Softback. Book Condition: Almost as New. Looks unread with cover almot as new. Here are the day-to-day processes of making, distributing and selling forbidden books in France during the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the Revolution in 1780. POSTAGE OVERSEAS is by air and should extra be needed this will be requested. Broadleaf Books is a second hand bookshop in Abergavenny, South Wales. Enquiries and visits are very welcome. Size: 9 x 6". Bookseller Inventory # 186414

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Book Description Harper Colins, 1996. Hardback. Book Condition: Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Good+. ~ Page edges browned. No ownership marks Size: xxiii, 440pp., illus. With dw. Binding tight, text unmarked. Bookseller Inventory # XX0503

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Book Description HarperCollins, London, 1996. Hardcover with dust jacket. Book Condition: Very good. Page edges tanned. Darnton's book addresses one of the big questions of history - what caused the French Revolution? - through its study of the salacious, seditious and scandalous bestselling books read by the French during the Enlightenment. 468 pages. 23.8 x 16.4 x 4 cm. Bookseller Inventory # 11721

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Darnton, Robert
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Book Description Collins, Great Britain, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition. 440 pages. Lightly tanned pages. Dust jacket has a small nick at the top end of the front flap fold and minor bumping to edges, otherwise in very good condition. Previous owner's name in ink. Remainder mark on bottom edge of pages. This work reveals the illegal book trade in France during the 18th century and explores the cultural and political significance of "bad" books. The author introduces three of the most influential illegal bestsellers, "Therese Philosophe", "L'An 2440" and "Anecdotes sur Mme La Comtesse du Barry". Quantity Available: 1. Category: History; Books on Books. ISBN: 0002556367. ISBN/EAN: 9780002556361. Inventory No: 15040259. The photo of this book is of the actual book for sale. Bookseller Inventory # 15040259

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