The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  86 ratings  ·  5 reviews
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...more
Paperback, 440 pages
Published April 17th 1996 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 1st 1995)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 328)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Cindy
I went to France this past summer so, given my history kick, I thought I'd give this another try. In grad school, one of the seminars focused on French history and cultural history. So I remember that books were illegally trafficked but I don't remember much else about this book.

So, it took 91 pages for me to find something in the book that interested me. It's not that I don't appreciate the research. It's amazing to dissimenate the culture of dissent by looking at the books people were illegal...more
Steve
Fascinating and highly readable, as his other books have been. This is the second of his books on the book industry of pre-Revolutionary France; the other covered more conventional works of philosophy such as Rousseau while this one focuses more on pornography, anti-church books, and seditious material.

This becomes even more interesting when you realize philosophical books were the illegal drugs of the 17th and 18th centuries, with book smugglers sneaking unbound books into cities hidden in wine...more
Sherwood Smith
Darnton does what he sets out to do: give an overview of forbidden books in France during the later 1600s and through the 1700s. He also talks about the forbidden presses, as well as lists what the popular books were. (The reader will be amazed to discover that one of the top sellers was not just porn, as one would think, but a science fiction story supposedly set in Paris in the year 2000, whose author amended it right on through the Revolution, claiming that he'd predicted it.)
Sylvie
it's not a page-turner per se, but definitly interesting to learn about how they got their kicks before beheading royalty.
John
books,nonfiction,enlightenment,history
Arto Bendiken
Arto Bendiken marked it as to-read
Jul 11, 2014
Elizabeth
Elizabeth marked it as to-read
Jul 04, 2014
Andrew
Andrew marked it as to-read
Jul 03, 2014
Lisa Christian
Lisa Christian marked it as to-read
Jul 02, 2014
G.w.
G.w. added it
Jun 27, 2014
Kimberly
Kimberly marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2014
Brandy
Brandy marked it as to-read
Jun 22, 2014
Katie
Katie marked it as to-read
Jun 11, 2014
Maphead
Maphead marked it as to-read
Jun 05, 2014
Paige
Paige marked it as to-read
Jun 01, 2014
Ashley
Ashley marked it as to-read
May 24, 2014
Vinita.ravgmail.com
Vinita.ravgmail.com marked it as to-read
May 22, 2014
Caroline
Caroline marked it as to-read
May 21, 2014
Mike
Mike added it
May 21, 2014
Carlos
Carlos marked it as to-read
May 20, 2014
Sarah Stone
Sarah Stone marked it as to-read
May 17, 2014
Alice
Alice marked it as to-read
May 11, 2014
Erica
Erica marked it as to-read
May 10, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing, 1450-1800
  • For the Soul of France: Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus
  • Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World (Allen Lane History)
  • Liberty: The Lives and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France
  • Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age
  • Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution
  • The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution
  • Vive la Revolution: A Stand-up History of the French Revolution
  • The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe
  • The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, slaves, commoners, and the hidden history of the revolutionary atlantic
  • A People's History of the American Revolution: How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence
  • The Book in the Renaissance
  • Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750
  • 1848: Year of Revolution
  • Who Murdered Chaucer?: A Medieval Mystery
  • The Perfect Heresy: The Revolutionary Life and Spectacular Death of the Medieval Cathars
  • The Tiger in the House: A Cultural History of the Cat
  • The Civilization Of Europe In The Renaissance
198840
Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library
More about Robert Darnton...
The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future The Literary Underground of the Old Regime The Kiss of Lamourette: Reflections in Cultural History Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment in France

Share This Book