The Devil in the Holy Water, or the Art of Slander from Louis XIV to Napoleon
552 pages | 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 | 47 illus.
Cloth 2009 | ISBN 978-0-8122-4183-9 | $34.95 | £23.00
Paper 2011 | ISBN 978-0-8122-2171-8 | $29.95 | £19.50
A volume in the Material Texts series
"Darnton's bravura demonstration of how Old Regime slander was grafted onto the main stem of Revolutionary political culture is one of the highlights of his engaging book. . . . The libellistes seem to have been most effective when their work fitted in with wider political and ideological trends. But their writings certainly complicated and dramatized questions about the limits of free speech as it was used for personal vilification and innuendo. Those were questions with which the Revolutionaries wrestled and never resolved. And they are with us still, and not only in the blogosphere."–Colin Jones, New York Review of Books
Robert Darnton explores the scandalous literature of libel and the colorful lives of libelers in eighteenth-century France. By doing so he shows how an ideological current eroded authority under the Old Regime and became absorbed in a new, more radical, political culture under Robespierre.
Read more . . .