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Havens Lecture: "What did the French Read on the Eve of the Revolution?"

Robert Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor, Department of History, and Director of the University Library - Harvard University.

What did the French read on the eve of the Revolution? Daniel Mornet asked this question in a famous article of 1910. Since then, historians have moved on to other ways of understanding the origins of 1789, but Mornet’s question has been left hanging, despite its relevance to recent work in fields such as the history of books and cultural history in general. This lecture is intended to provide an answer to Mornet’s question while at the same time introducing an open-access website full of information about the demand for literature and the way the book trade actually operated under the Ancien RĂ©gime.

For more information, visit the Department of French and Italian website.