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Poetry and the Police
by Robert Darnton
Harvard University Press, 2010
Cloth: 978-0-674-05715-9 | Paper: 978-0-674-06604-5 | eISBN: 978-0-674-05927-6
Library of Congress Classification DC729.D37 2010
Dewey Decimal Classification 944.361034

Darnton has ably mined the available evidence surrounding the 1749 investigation and string of arrests for sedition known as the "Affair of the Fourteen" and produced a remarkable analysis of a subversive Parisian public discourse that openly attacked the king, his mistress, new taxes, and an unpopular peace treaty. Darnton lucidly reconstructs a world where information traveled through poems and songs set to familiar melodies; he reminds us that our world of instant communication, tweets, and 24-hour news cycles is not as distinctive as we may believe. With rich end matter that includes the lyrics of poems and songs as well as a link to a superb recording of some of the songs by cabaret artist Helene Delavault, this interdisciplinary piece is highly recommended for serious students across the humanities as well as readers with an interest in 18th-century French culture and politics.

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