The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 1985 - History - 298 pages
When the apprentices of a Paris printing shop in the 1730's 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 twenty 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? These are some of the provocative questions Robert Darnton attempts to answer in this dazzling series of essays that probe the ways of thought in what we like to call "The Age of Enlightenment."

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - baswood - LibraryThing

“We constantly need to be shaken out of a false sense of familiarity with the past, to be administered doses of cultural shock.” Darnton says that to really appreciate documents and literature from ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kant1066 - LibraryThing

Most history of the early modern period written more than a generation ago was what Robert Darnton identifies as "top-down" history: it is the history of royalty, nobles, and the intellectual elites ... Read full review

Contents

I
iii
II
ix
V
61
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