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Robert Darnton has 2 media appearances.

Aug
31
Robert Darnton
Booknotes, Sunday, August 31, 2003
Robert Darnton discusses George Washington's False Teeth: An Unconventional Guide to the Eighteenth Century.

—from the publisher's website An Unconventional Guide to the Eighteenth Century A master historian's excavations into the past unearth a world that is unexpected and compelling. The most famous character in eighteenth-century Paris, apart from the public hangman, was "Le Grand Thomas," a tooth puller who operated on the Pont-Neuf. A gigantic man seated high above the surrounding supplicants, he commanded instructions to his assistants and the "toothaches seemed to expire at his feet." George Washington was not so lucky. He was inaugurated as president in 1789 with one tooth in his mouth, a lower left bicuspid. The Father of His Country had sets of false teeth that were made of everything but wood, from elephant ivory and walrus tusk to the teeth of a fellow human. With characteristic learning and bracing insight, Robert Darnton shows us that the Enlightenment had false teeth too—that it was not the Father of Our Modern World, responsible for all its advances and transgressions. In restoring the Enlightenment to human scale, Darnton locates its real significance as a movement, a cause, a campaign to change minds and reform institutions. So too with the French Revolution, another icon of the eighteenth century: Darnton explores its origins in the gossip, songs, and broadsides that formed the political nervous system of Paris in the Old Regime. Figures that we think we know—Voltaire, Franklin, Jefferson, Rousseau, Condorcet—emerge here afresh, their vitality (if not their teeth) intact. Was the leader of the Girondists, Jacques-Pierre Brissot, a dedicated revolutionary or a police spy? Darnton shows the past to be an unruly place, sometimes confounding to the present, always unexpected, compelling, and rewarding. (timspalding)… (more)
Mar
5
A discussion about Google's book scanning project
Charlie Rose, Friday, March 5, 2010
Robert Darnton; James Gleick; David Drummond

A discussion about Google's book scanning project with cultural historian Robert Darnton, David C. Drummond, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, Chief Legal Officer at Google and author James Gleick (timspalding)

Robert Darnton has 1 past event. (show)

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Short biography
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Robert Darnton was educated at Harvard University (A.B., 1960) and Oxford University (B.Phil., 1962; D. Phil., 1964), where he was a Rhodes scholar. After a brief stint as a reporter for The New York Times, he became a junior fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard. He taught at Princeton from 1968 until 2007, when he became Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the University Library at Harvard. He has been a visiting professor or fellow at many universities and institutes for advanced study, and his outside activities include service as a trustee of the New York Public Library and the Oxford University Press (USA) and terms as president of the American Historical Association and the International Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies. Among his honors are a MacArthur Prize Fellowship, a National Book Critics Circle Award, election to the French Legion of Honor, the National Humanities Medal conferred by President Obama in February 2012, and the Del Duca World Prize in the Humanities awarded by the Institut de France in 2013. He has written and edited many books, including The Business of Enlightenment: A Publishing History of the Encyclopédie (1979, an early attempt to develop the history of books as a field of study), The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (1984, probably his most popular work, which has been translated into 18 languages), Berlin Journal, 1989-1990, (1991, an account of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of East Germany), and The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Prerevolutionary France (1995, a study of the underground book trade). His latest books are The Case for Books (2009), The Devil in the Holy Water, or The Art of Slander in France from Louis XIV to Napoleon (2009), and Poetry and the Police: Communication Networks in Eighteenth-Century Paris (2010).

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