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date: 09 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Books enjoy a privileged position in many accounts of the enlightenment and its links to revolutionary causation. However, historians have struggled to delineate convincingly and reach agreement about what those links actually were. This chapter attempts to use the freshest evidence to establish the place of the book in enlightenment and revolutionary print culture and politics. This involves a wide-ranging exploration of historical, methodological and definitional dilemmas such as: What is a ‘book’ and what place did books occupy in eighteenth-century culture? What sorts of printed texts were influential in the final years of the ancien régime and during the Revolution? Who read them and how did they understand and respond to them? And how do the answers to these questions revise understandings of the links between French enlightenment and Revolution?

Keywords: Enlightenment, publishing history, book history, print culture, French Revolution, public opinion, book trade, history of reading, Société typographique de Neuchâtel, Origins of the French Revolution

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