The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France (1996) is a literary history book by Robert Darnton, a revisionist approach to Enlightenment historiography.

More popular than the canon of the great French 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 "immoral" books and introduces readers to three of the most influential illegal best-sellers, from which he includes substantial excerpts.

See also

Ancien Régime in France, French Enlightenment, philosophes




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