The Publications section of this website brings together information about works published by Robert Darnton that concern the history of books and cultural history in general.  They are grouped into four sub-sections: books, articles about the STN, articles about book history, and essays of a theoretical or polemical character.  By 2014 Darnton had published 55 articles related to his research in the archives of the STN, but they contain some overlapping and repetitive material, and therefore only a selection of them is included here.  Full references to all of the essays are available on his curriculum vitae, which also appears on this website.

STN Studies

The following links provide access to a selection of essays that draw directly on the STN archives.

Sounding the Literary Market in Prerevolutionary France

The Encyclopédie Wars of Prerevolutionary France

Trade in the Taboo: The Life of a Clandestine Bookdealer in Provincial France.pdf

A Bibliographical Imbroglio: Hidden Editions of the Encyclopédie.pdf

Work and Culture in an Eighteenth-Century Printing Shop.pdf

The Forbidden Books of Pre-revolutionary France.pdf

The Life Cycle of a Book: A Publishing History of d'Holbach's Système de la nature.pdf

La Science de la contrefaçon.pdf

Entre l'éditeur et le libraire: les étapes des ventes.pdf

The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe.pdf

Books and Border Crossings in the Age of Enlightenment

The Travels of a Publisher’s Sales Rep, 1775-1776

Diffusion and Confusion in Research.pdf

Book History/General Issues

The following links provide access to essays about the history of books.

Reading, Writing, and Publishing in Eighteenth-Century France - A Case Study in the Sociology of Literature

Le livre français à la fin de l'Ancien Régime.pdf

What is the History of Books?

Mlle Bonafon and the Private Life of Louis XV: Communication Circuits in Eighteenth-Century France.pdf

Old Books and E-Books.pdf

What is the History of Books Revisited

The Devil in the Holy Water: Political Libel in Eighteenth-Century France.pdf

Blogging Now and Then.pdf

Related Topics

The following links provide access to essays about general issues in cultural history and debates concerning the work of Robert Darnton.

Dialogue à propos de l'histoire culturelle.pdf

First Steps Toward a History of Reading.pdf

Two Paths Through the Social History of Ideas.pdf

The Devil in the Details

The Devil in the Details Reply

The Symbolic Element in History


Censors at Work: How States Shaped Literature (2014)

Poetry and the Police: Communication Networks in Eighteenth-Century Paris (2011)

The Devil in the Holy Water, or the Art of Slander from Louis XIV to Napoleon (2009)

The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future (2009)

George Washington’s False Teeth: An Unconventional Guide to the Eighteenth Century (2003)

The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Prerevolutionary France (1995)

The Corpus of Clandestine Literature in France (1769-1789)  (1995)

Berlin Journal, 1989–1990 (1991)

The Kiss of Lamourette: Reflections in Cultural History (1989)

Revolution in Print: The Press in France 1775–1800 (1989)

The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (1984)

The Literary Underground of the Old Regime (1982)

The Business of Enlightenment: A Publishing History of the Encyclopédie (1979)

Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment in France (1968)

Journalistic Articles


New York Review of Books—June 7, 2012
In Defense of the New York Public Library

The Chronicle of Higher Education—April 17, 2011
5 Myths About the Information Age

New York Times—March 23, 2011
A Digital Library Better Than Google's

New York Review of Books—December 23, 2010
The Library: Three Jeremiads

New York Review of Books—February 12, 2009
Google & The Future of Books

Harvard Crimson—February 12, 2008
The Case for Open Access


In The New York Review Of Books (1973 to the present)


Boston Globe—April 28, 2012
Harvard panel pushes benefits of free journals

The Guardian—April 24, 2012
Harvard University says it can’t afford journal publishers’ prices

Publishers Weekly—April 3, 2012
Robert Darnton Promises Digital Public Library by 2013

National Endowment for the Humanities—February 13, 2012
President Obama Awards 2011 National Humanities Medals

A Piece of Monologue—December 5, 2011
Do Books Have a Future: An Interview with Robert Darnton