The Revolutionary Temper: Paris, 1748-1789 Robert DarntonPublisher: W. W. Norton & Company (7 Nov. 2023)
Hardcover: 608 pages
When a Parisian crowd stormed the Bastille in July 1789, it triggered the overthrow of the monarchy and the birth of a new society. In retrospect we understand the French Revolution as the outcome of such factors as a faltering economy and Enlightenment thought. But what did the Parisians themselves think they were doing--how did they understand their world? In this dazzling history, Robert Darnton draws on decades of study to conjure a past as vivid as today's news. He explores eighteenth-century Paris as an information society like our own, its news circuits centered in cafés, on park benches, and under the Palais-Royal's Tree of Cracow. Through pamphlets, gossip, and public performances, the events of some forty years--from disastrous treaties and royal debauchery to thrilling hot-air balloon ascents--entered the churning collective consciousness of ordinary Parisians. With public trust eroding as new aspirations soared, Parisians prepared themselves for revolution.
Robert Darnton is Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and University Librarian, Emeritus, Harvard University. The author of acclaimed, widely translated works in French history, he is a scholar of global stature, a Chevalier in the Légion d'Honneur, and winner of the National Humanities Medal. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.