Poetry and the Police: Communication Networks in by Robert Darnton
By Robert Darnton
Hearken to "An digital Cabaret: Paris highway Songs, 1748–50" for songs from Poetry and the Police Audio recording copyright © 2010 by way of the President and Fellows of Harvard collage. All rights reserved. In spring 1749, Fran?ois Bonis, a scientific pupil in Paris, stumbled on himself all of sudden hauled off to the Bastille for dispensing an “abominable poem concerning the king.” So begun the Affair of the Fourteen, a police crackdown on traditional electorate for unauthorized poetry recitals. Why was once the professional reaction to those poems so severe? during this appealing publication, Robert Darnton follows the poems as they gone through numerous media: copied on scraps of paper, dictated from one individual to a different, memorized and declaimed to an viewers. however the most desirable dispersal happened via tune, whilst poems have been sung to standard tunes. Lyrics frequently pointed out present occasions or printed well known attitudes towards the royal courtroom. The songs supplied a operating statement on public affairs, and Darnton brilliantly lines how the lyrics healthy into tune cycles that carried messages during the streets of Paris in the course of a interval of emerging discontent. He uncovers a fancy conversation community, illuminating the way in which info circulated in a semi-literate society. This lucid and unique booklet reminds us of either the significance of oral exchanges within the historical past of conversation and the facility of “viral” networks lengthy earlier than our net age. (20100915)
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Additional resources for Poetry and the Police: Communication Networks in Eighteenth-Century Paris
That conduct exposed the king to accusations of incest as well as adultery. When Mme de Châteauroux, the last of the sister-Â� mistresses, suddenly died in 1744, Parisians muttered darkly that Louis’s crimes could bring down the punishment of God on the entire kingdom. And when he took up with Mme de Pompadour in 1745, they complained that he was stripping the kingdom bare in order to heap jewelry and châteaux on a vile commoner. Those themes stood out in the poems and songs that reached the king, some of them so violent as to advocate regicide: “A poem has appeared with two hundred fifty horrible lines against the king.
Berryer, the lieutenant general of police, who was also a Pompadour protégé, would be understandably eager to enforce d’Argenson’s orders, now that d’Argenson had replaced Maurepas as head of the Department of Paris. But there was more to the provocation and the response than met the eye. 7 Of course, the d’Argenson faction could reply that the poetastery was a plot of the Maurepas faction. 8 By exhorting the police to pursue the investigation “as high as it may go,”9 he might pin the crime 36â•… poetry and the police onÂ€his poÂ�litÂ�iÂ�cal enemies.
They turned up a counselor in the Grand Conseil (Langlois de Guérard), the clerk of an attorney in the Grand Conseil (Jouret), the clerk of an attorney (Ladoury), and the clerk of a notary (Tranchet). They also encountered another cluster of students whose central figÂ�ure seemed to be a young man named Varmont, who was completing his year of philosophy at the Collège d’HarÂ� court. He had accumulated quite a collection of seditious verse, including poemÂ€1, which he memorized and dictated in class to DuÂ€Chaufour, a fellow student of philosophy, who passed it down the line that eventually led to Bonis.