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The Devil in the Holy Water, or the Art of Slander from Louis XIV to Napoleon
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The Devil in the Holy Water, or the Art of Slander from Louis XIV to Napoleon

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  14 ratings  ·  3 reviews
Slander has always been a nasty business, Robert Darnton notes, but that is no reason to consider it a topic unworthy of inquiry. By destroying reputations, it has often helped to delegitimize regimes and bring down governments. Nowhere has this been more the case than in eighteenth-century France, when a ragtag group of literary libelers flooded the market with works that ...more
Paperback, 552 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by University of Pennsylvania Press (first published December 1st 2009)
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Lauren
Author Robert Darnton investigates the process of spreading slander during the 18th century, from harmless riddles to full libels, as well as the motives which led authors to do so, whether they be entertainment for friends or means of a quick fortune.

He uses vivid examples of the gossip in print at the time, however, you will find the process of actually producing those illegal texts and having them successfully circulate just as interesting.

Darnton’s objectives are history first, followed by
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Jeffrey Greggs
Top-flight academic history. Darnton, as usual, is in masterful command of his subject. The comparison between the libelle and blogging--presumably made for dust-jacket sexifying--is a bit of question-begging, but as a study of censorship in a highly literate society and public opinion in pre-Revolutionary France the book is fantastic.
Miguel
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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 Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France The Literary Underground of the Old Regime The Kiss of Lamourette: Reflections in Cultural History

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