What Tocqueville failed to grasp, according to Chartier, was a “process of privatization” in social life that created an autonomous sphere where public affairs could be debated and the state could be resisted. It contains almost no references to French sources and very few from primary documents of any kind, except some citations of Locke and Kant. In tracing the publishing story of Diderot’s Encyclopédie, Darnton uses new sources—the papers of eighteenth-century publishers—that allow him to respond firmly to a set of problems long vexing historians. Robert Darnton's history of the Encyclop�die is such an occasion. A reformist strain reinforced royal authority, but did so in the manner of enlightened despotism—that is, as the rational expression of the nation’s interest as a whole in opposition to the particularist interests of orders and estates. In practice, however, Baker ignores this precept, because he treats the Revolution as the working out of the logic propounded in the constitutional debates. But do they alter our understanding of French political culture in a fundamental way? After the reign of Louis XIV, the wealthy and the educated withdrew into a domestic world, where they read newspapers and discussed affairs with a new sense of independence. Thus the attacks on the Church between 1789 and 1794 did not come from a sudden outburst of anticlericalism but rather were the culmination of a de-Christianization process that can be seen in a century-long decline in Masses said for the dead, in a drop in the incidence of religious vocations, in an increase in secular as opposed to religious publications, and even in the beginning of widespread contraception. Baker traces these “three basic strands of discourse” to a common source, “the traditional language of absolutism.” Somehow this mother language combined three attributes—justice, reason, and will—into a single version of royal authority; and somehow after the death of Louis XIV they fell apart, constituting separate discourses of justice (parlementary constitutionalism), reason (enlightened reform), and will (popular sovereignty). In doing so he unearths a double paradox. That history has not fared so well as the history of Diderot'sEncyclope'die, or the philosophy of the Enlightenment, its intellectual history, and the major Enlightenment writers including, at last, Diderot himself. Hacks. Since this idea is also central to Baker’s book and in fact can be found nearly everywhere in discussions of early modern culture, it is worth pausing over. According to Habermas, Öffentlichkeit developed wherever ordinary citizens discussed public affairs outside the reach of the state. The Cultural Origins of the French Revolution by Roger Chartier demonstrates that there is much more than terminology at stake in this shift of viewpoint. And the state, which initially had suppressed those ideas, ultimately came to favor them. For him, Öffentlichkeit is public opinion, or rather the peculiar concept of public opinion that emerged in France between 1750 and 1789. Chartier’s book does not present new research but combines familiar material in fresh ways, exposing fault lines and proposing new interpretations. Nothing in recent historical writing could be further removed from the social history that prevailed a generation ago. He fully explores the workings of the literary market place, including the roles of publishers, book dealers, traveling salesmen, and other intermediaries in cultural communication. By Robert Darnton His work has long been an indispensable study for all those who ponder on ‘Histoire mondiale de la France,’ edited by Patrick Boucheron, Robert Darnton's latest book is A Literary Tour de France: The World of Books on the Eve of the French Revolution. In the reception room of Mme. He conjures up a world of free and easy ratiocination among philosophic equals. © 1963-2020 NYREV, Inc. All rights reserved. There is an attractive neatness to this argument, but it is too neat. A scholar of Enlightenment France and of the history of the book, he returned to Harvard in 1965 to join the Society of Fellows, decamped to Princeton University in 1968 for 39 years, and came back to Harvard in 2007. Far from being democratic and egalitarian, they were complex structures with hierarchies of their own, entry and exit points, and modes of differentiating those who were “in” from those who were “out.” Yet Habermas has nothing to say about the realities of cultural life under the Old Regime. It is a book of previously published essays, so it does not offer a new synthesis comparable to the more ambitious work by Chartier. Chartier has no clear answer to this question. In the cahiers of 1789, he detects a “politicization of the village” and a certain “symbolic disenchantment” about the monarchy, even though they continue to celebrate the king as the father of the people. In a long essay on the early phase of the Revolution, he refers to July 14, 1789, only as the day on which the National Assembly debated whether to put a Declaration of Rights before or after the text of a constitution. It opened the way for studies of provincial academies, intellectuals, education, libraries, the book trade, journalism, freemasonry, popular culture, and other subjects which have now turned into academic industries. Most people are probably passingly familiar with Franz Anton Mesmer, the eighteenth-century German-born physician and originator of what we now know as “mesmerism,” but the background that Robert Darnton (formerly of Princeton University, but now heads the Harvard University Library) brings to the this book puts mesmerism into not just medical and physical, but also political perspective. But Chartier and Baker are correct to point out his conceptual shortcomings. Neither historian has anything to say about economics or any tolerance for attempts to reduce ideologies to the interests of social classes. At the moment of truth, on September 11, 1789, the revolutionaries let language take over and dictate the course of events. The most important constitutional decision probably occurred on November 7, 1789, when the assembly rejected the British model of parliamentary government by voting to exclude deputies from all ministries. Power also comes out the barrel of a gun, even though Mao said so, back in the dark ages when discourse was undreamt of and Mornet set the pace in the chase after ideas. Robert Darnton THE BUSINESS OF ENLIGHTENMENT : Publishing History of the Encyclopedie, 1775-1800 1st Edition 2nd Printing Softcover Cambridge, Massachusetts Belknap Press 1979 Very Good in wrappers. The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe, ii: Enlightenment Bestsellers. Skip to main content.sg. These are the kinds of institutions evoked by Habermas, but they confront his thesis with a second difficulty. He prefers to posit some undocumented “spontaneous reactions of the man in the street.” But he also finds a significant shift in the tone of the cahiers des doléances, or petitions of grievances, that the French drew up before the meetings of the Estates General in 1614 and 1789. But in his other books, notably Le Sentiment de la nature en France de Jean-Jacques Rousseau à Bernardin de Saint-Pierre and Les Sciences de la vie au XVIIIe siècle, he treated intellectual life in a broad, cultural setting. Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment in France by Robert Darnton (1986, Paperback) at the best online prices at eBay! The tables of the Café Procope? Otherwise, it will fall back on some kind of hidden logic—a cunning of history—that would be meaningless to people in the past. By emphasizing discursive practice, Baker breaks with their tendency to follow lines of influence from one thinker to another. Publication date 1979 Usage Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Topics The chambers of the Académie Française? “Feudalism” was not simply destroyed by the decrees of August 4 but by the peasant uprisings, which made it inoperable in farms and villages and forced several revisions of the decrees. It cannot be taken as a guide to eighteenth-century France. Thus Chartier’s version of Habermas: “It was precisely the construction of a space for liberty of action, removed from state authority and reliant on the individual, that permitted the rise of the new public space that was at once inherited from and transformed by the creative energy of revolutionary politics.”. Where Chartier attempts to relate the Revolution’s origins to the whole cultural system of the Old Regime, Baker keeps to fine-grained textual analysis; but fine as his analysis is, it has broad implications. He is concerned with the form of the thought of the great philosophes as it materialized into books and with the way books were made and distributed in the business of publishing. Fast and free shipping free returns cash on delivery available on eligible purchase. Phil., 1964), where he was a Rhodes Scholar. In the key points of his argument, however, Chartier explains the cultural destabilization of the Old Regime by invoking Jürgen Habermas’s notion of the “bourgeois public sphere” (bürgerliche Öffentlichkeit). 1971. His work has long been indispensable for all those who ponder the role of the book in that history. Into Print. Thanks to his encyclopedic knowledge and his wit, he stands out as the Diderot of early modern historians. He was not so simple-minded as his successors make him out to be. When applied to France, they help Baker locate a strain of classical republicanism in places where it had dwelt undetected, such as the writings of Gabriel Bonnet de Mably. A great book about an even greater book is a rare event in publishing. When Chartier ran into it in translation, however, it had become spatial. The author explores some fascinating territory in the French genre of histoire du livre, and at the same time he tracks the diffusion of Enlightenment ideas. The taking of the Bastille, the peasant uprisings, the overthrow of municipal governments, the abolition of feudalism, and the capture of the king by the Paris crowd in the October Days are mentioned only in passing or not at all. Robert Darnton's The Literary Underground of the Old Regime offers the most complete analysis of French hack writers. (December 2019). Porter, Enlightenment, location 567. Yet at this high point in the diffusion and legitimation of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution erupted, destroying the social and political order in which the Enlightenment had flourished. Habermas’s Öffentlichkeit is one of those German words that can be both sociological (meaning the public as a group of persons) or philosophical (meaning making something public—the airing of an idea). Your story matters. It is a tricky argument, and it runs into two kinds of difficulties. Baker sees discourse opening the “conceptual space” under Louis XV that finally swallowed up Louis XVI during the Revolution. Out of this peculiar “space” they constituted a new kind of public, which was peculiarly susceptible to politicization. He is the Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and University Librarian Emeritus at Harvard. Ever since Professor Robert Darnton aroused the interest of Enlightenment scholars in 1971 with the publication of The High Enlightenment and the low-life of literature in pre-revolutionary France, he has been in the forefront of debate about the period. True, he wrote straightforward, almost Voltairean prose, without the benefit of a postmodern academic vocabulary, and he constructed his Origines intellectuelles so clearly that it looks too neat. Or the columns of the Gazette de France? Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. It is a fascinating hypothesis, and it helps to explain the crusading zeal that the revolutionaries directed against the Church. Robert Darnton The Literary Underground of the Old Regime. So the tragedy of 1793 was written in the “scripts” of the mid-century. The Revolution appears as nothing more than a problem of political theory—essentially, an attempt to resolve the contradiction between a Rousseauian notion of the general will and a constitutional monarchy with a balance of powers. Best of The New York Review, plus books, events, and other items of interest, The Cultural Origins of the French Revolution, Inventing the French Revolution: Essays on French Political Culture in the Eighteenth Century. The question won’t go away. It also confirms the decline of Marxism as a means of understanding early modern history. By that time, spatial metaphors had begun to proliferate in the French social sciences, owing to the influence of Foucault and his “archeology of knowledge.” But as Öffentlichkeit hardened into “space” or “sphere,” the metaphor lost its suppleness. Whatever the implications of Rousseau’s Social Contract, the Terror was unthinkable without a foreign invasion, economic chaos, a religious schism, a constant threat of counterrevolution, and a civil war. Much of the ground covered by Baker had already been surveyed by Elie Carcassonne, Jules Flammermont, Félix Rocquain, Roger Bickart, Robert Derathé, and other historians from earlier generations, who appreciated the complexities of ideological conflict even though in their innocence they studied ideas rather than discourses. In fact, it was many, many other things, as Robert Darnton methodically and (as always) entertainingly recounts in this work. Without the religious schism, the war, and the treachery of Louis XVI, it might actually have worked. 1971. Porter, “The Enlightenment”. by Roger Chartier, translated by Lydia G. Cochrane, Duke University Press, 257 pp., $8.95 (paper), Cambridge University Press, 382 pp., $16.95 (paper). After a brief stint as a reporter for The New York Times, he became a junior fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard. By Mark Curran. The latest revival of this problem, which appears in two books published recently by Roger Chartier and Keith Baker, belongs to a shift away from social history, and toward intellectual history in current research. Although he acknowledges the flood of libelous attacks on the monarchy after 1770, he doubts that this literature had much effect, because statistics on its diffusion prove nothing about the ways in which it might have been read. That world never existed, as Rousseau learned when he arrived at the salon of Mme. Darnton has written an indispensable book for historians of modern Europe. As world-historical moments go, September 11, 1789, seems an odd time at which to locate a turning point. In the case of de-Christianization, for example, Chartier shows that historians have failed to demonstrate any direct linkage between the decline in traditional religiosity throughout the eighteenth century and the explosion of anti-Catholicism in 1789. ... Darnton, Robert. (December 2019) In Search of the Enlightenment: Recent Attempts to Create a Social History of Ideas The Harvard community has made this article openly available. Darnton's history of the Encyclop?die is such an occasion. Paradoxically, therefore, the private reemerged as the public and thereby opened the way to the Revolution. In fact, they constituted the crucial, cultural ingredient in the great explosion of 1789. Journal of Modern This is the boldest and most controversial point in Baker’s book. He takes up one tract after another and shows how each in its own way challenged the authority of the Bourbon monarchy. No one would deny the importance of those debates, which received a thorough going-over by the historians of the Third Republic. But the very success of his exegesis raises a problem: Can one write a history of the constitutional debates without taking social conflict into account? When combined, those two elements could become explosive. Your story matters Citation Darnton, Robert. ISBN 978-0-674-56950-8. If this space was actually constructed, both conceptually and as the site of action, where can we locate it? The main title of Habermas’s thesis, Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit, became L’Espace public (Public Space) in its French edition (Paris, 1978), and it trailed a subtitle that could be understood only by certain readers of Foucault, Archeology of publicity as a constitutive dimension of bourgeois society. In theory the deputies of the Third Estate took the most important revolutionary step on June 17, 1789, when they laid claim to sovereignty by declaring themselves to be the National Assembly. The ways ideas traveled in early modern Europe, the level of penetration of Enlightenment ideas in the society of the Old Regime, and the connections between the Enlightenment and the French Revolution are brilliantly treated by Darnton. After tracing the emergence of this concept in a series of treatises and pamphlets, Baker arrives at a conclusion close to Chartier’s; for he, too, understands political culture spatially: ” ‘Public opinion’ had become the articulating concept of a new political space with a legitimacy and authority apart from that of the crown: a public space in which the nation could reclaim its rights against the crown. Gone are the old certainties about the rising bourgeoisie, the importance of Voltaire and Rousseau, and the terms of the problems themselves. Robert Darnton Robert Darnton's latest book is A Literary Tour de France: The World of Books on the Eve of the French Revolution. Using folktales, oral histories, letters, and police reports, Darnton explores the attitudes and behaviors of 18th-century French men and women, from indigent peasants to the … His strategy for dealing with it begins with a rejection of the assumption, which was typical of intellectual history in Mornet’s day, that ideas are autonomous units of thought that can be traced through society and across spans of time. In practice, it flourished in the eighteenth-century world of letters, where writers competed for the favor of readers on an open market, and everyone acknowledged the supreme authority of public opinion. Geoffrin? Throughout the whole period of the Constituent Assembly, the king said one thing and did another, constantly threatening the constitutional order with a counterrevolutionary coup. That will not do for Chartier and Baker. This version of Habermas provides a way for Chartier to modernize Tocqueville as well as Mornet. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. From 1670 on, the king withdrew into the inner circles of the court, but his symbolic presence was asserted everywhere, in a manner like the Eucharist, through the spread of a new ritual, the Te Deum, introduced by Henry III in 1587 and celebrated increasingly after 1651. Before the eighteenth century, as absolutism reached its apogee, family life spilled into the street and no clear boundaries separated the private from the public. And the Origines intellectuelles can be read not only as an encyclopedic synthesis but also as an agenda for research that has kept French socio-cultural history going for the last half century. The point needs emphasis, because the shift from social to intellectual history has led to an overestimation of the power of language. Mornet needs to be assimilated, not merely modernized. He borrows those concepts from the work of John Pocock, Quentin Skinner, and others who have transformed the history of political thought in the Anglo-Saxon world. Of course social conflicts had to be expressed in language, and revolutionary oratory acquired a force of its own. By Simon Burrows. By emphasizing cultural history, Chartier connects the question of the Revolution’s origins to themes covered in his previous work, which ranges over several centuries and a vast array of subjects, many of them inherited from Mornet. The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe, i: Selling Enlightenment. Robert Darnton ’s history of the Encyclopédie is such an occasion. Ever since Professor Robert Darnton aroused the interest of all Enlightenment scholars with the publication of ‘The High Enlightenment and the low-life literature in pre-revolutionary France’ in 1971, he has been in the forefront of debate about that period and the French Revolution which followed it. He wants to show how the French Revolution was “invented” from concepts developed under the Old Regime. He certainly seems qualified to succeed Mornet. In the hands of someone like Condorcet, this “social reason,” as Baker calls it, could dispense with the king altogether after 1789. Yet the question about the intellectual origins of the Revolution has returned, dressed up more fashionably in queries about discourse, and the point of departure for discussing it remains the same: Daniel Mornet’s imposing treatise of 1933, Les Origines intellectuelles de la Révolution française. Harvard University Press, 258 pages, $16.50. Please share how this access benefits you. When he mentioned the eighteenth century, he evoked the republic of letters imagined by Kant. But the language came from the works of Mably and Rousseau. Chartier attributes that zeal to a sacrality transferred from Church to state. They are meant to be provocative rather than conclusive. So his doctoral thesis, which is now thirty years old, pointed him toward the criticism of contemporary society that he has expounded in his more recent and more important work, The Theory of Communicative Action. He is concerned with the form of the thought of the great philosophes as it So the temple was brought down by its own guardians rather than by the Voltairean infidel attacking from outside. He begins by outlining the enthusiasm for science - more often exuberant pseudo-science - which existed in France in the eighteenth century (an … Limits and Legacies of the Enlightenment; Essays in Honor of Robert Darnton. But their meaning was shaped by events outside the assembly hall. They insist that ideas do not translate directly into actions; that intellectual origins cannot be understood as a one-way, trickle-down diffusion process; and that a great deal besides the Enlightenment went into the creation of the ideological climate in prerevolutionary France. It became reified and lost much of the meaning that Habermas had infused in it. Neither of them has much patience with the old-fashioned Enlightenment-to-Revolution model. Instead of smoothing over difficulties, they take risks, force issues, and argue the hardest cases. Corners slightly frayed. “Despotism” was not simply abolished by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen; it was defeated first when the common people seized power in Paris on July 14 and then again, after the king refused to accept the Declaration, on October 5–6, when the people marched on Versailles. Citation Darnton, Robert. A generation ago, Marxists (e.g., Albert Soboul in France) and anti-Marxists (e.g., Alfred Cobban in England) argued about the connection, or lack of it, between social structure on the one hand and ideology and politics on the other. According to Darnton, hacks constitute a group of struggling writers (a "literary proletariat") who cobbled together a living by engaging in a range of practices: underground journalism, pamphlet-writing, education, spying on other intellectuals for the police, etc. • Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment in France. Because it unleashed “the ideological dynamic that was to drive subsequent revolutionary events.” As he sees it, the Revolution proceeded by a great discursive leap forward; and the propelling force was ideology.
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