When the apprentices of a Paris printing shop in the 1730s held a series of mock trials and then hanged all the cats they could lay their hands on, why did they find it so hilariously funny that they choked with laughter when they reenacted it in pantomime some 20 times? Why in the 18th-century version of Little Red Riding Hood did the wolf eat the child at the end? What did the anonymous townsman of Montpelier have in mind when he kept an exhaustive dossier on all the activities of his native city?
"Couldn't take another minute, college lecture"
This absorbing history by a brilliant scholar and writer deepens our understanding of how censorship works. With his uncanny ability to spark life in the past, Robert Darnton re-creates three historical worlds in which censorship shaped literary expression in distinctive ways. In 18th-century France, censors, authors, and booksellers collaborated in making literature by navigating the intricate culture of royal privilege.
Today, nearly one million books are published each year. But is the era of the book as we know it - a codex of bound pages - coming to an end? And if it is, should we celebrate its demise and the creation of a democratic digital future, or mourn an irreplaceable loss?
"The book is wonderful, but it is abridged."