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Listen to "An Electronic Cabaret: Paris Street Songs, 1748 50" for songs from "Poetry and the Police" Audio recording copyright (c) 2010 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. In spring 1749, Francois Bonis, a medical student in Paris, found himself unexpectedly hauled off to the Bastille for distributing an abominable poem about the king. So Listen to "An Electronic Cabaret: Paris Street Songs, 1748 50" for songs from "Poetry and the Police" Audio recording copyright (c) 2010 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. In spring 1749, Francois Bonis, a medical student in Paris, found himself unexpectedly hauled off to the Bastille for distributing an abominable poem about the king. So began the Affair of the Fourteen, a police crackdown on ordinary citizens for unauthorized poetry recitals. Why was the official response to these poems so intense? In this captivating book, Robert Darnton follows the poems as they passed through several media: copied on scraps of paper, dictated from one person to another, memorized and declaimed to an audience. But the most effective dispersal occurred through music, when poems were sung to familiar tunes. Lyrics often referred to current events or revealed popular attitudes toward the royal court. The songs provided a running commentary on public affairs, and Darnton brilliantly traces how the lyrics fit into song cycles that carried messages through the streets of Paris during a period of rising discontent. He uncovers a complex communication network, illuminating the way information circulated in a semi-literate society. This lucid and entertaining book reminds us of both the importance of oral exchanges in the history of communication and the power of viral networks long before our internet age.


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Listen to "An Electronic Cabaret: Paris Street Songs, 1748 50" for songs from "Poetry and the Police" Audio recording copyright (c) 2010 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. In spring 1749, Francois Bonis, a medical student in Paris, found himself unexpectedly hauled off to the Bastille for distributing an abominable poem about the king. So Listen to "An Electronic Cabaret: Paris Street Songs, 1748 50" for songs from "Poetry and the Police" Audio recording copyright (c) 2010 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. In spring 1749, Francois Bonis, a medical student in Paris, found himself unexpectedly hauled off to the Bastille for distributing an abominable poem about the king. So began the Affair of the Fourteen, a police crackdown on ordinary citizens for unauthorized poetry recitals. Why was the official response to these poems so intense? In this captivating book, Robert Darnton follows the poems as they passed through several media: copied on scraps of paper, dictated from one person to another, memorized and declaimed to an audience. But the most effective dispersal occurred through music, when poems were sung to familiar tunes. Lyrics often referred to current events or revealed popular attitudes toward the royal court. The songs provided a running commentary on public affairs, and Darnton brilliantly traces how the lyrics fit into song cycles that carried messages through the streets of Paris during a period of rising discontent. He uncovers a complex communication network, illuminating the way information circulated in a semi-literate society. This lucid and entertaining book reminds us of both the importance of oral exchanges in the history of communication and the power of viral networks long before our internet age.

30 review for Poetry and the Police: Communication Networks in Eighteenth-Century Paris

  1. 4 out of 5

    Claudia Santos

    La importancia de que el pueblo pueda ser reconocido como autor El texto Poesía y policía, de Robert Darnton, presenta la historia de la comunicación y su importancia no cómo un fenómeno moderno sino como uno cuyas plataformas han cambiado pero su importancia no. El texto se dedica principalmente a narrar el caso de los catorce para de ahí derivar o conectar muchos otros casos o cuestiones. Cuando al Rey le llegó un poema en su contra, no dudó en poner a toda la fuerza policiaca en búsqueda del a La importancia de que el pueblo pueda ser reconocido como autor El texto Poesía y policía, de Robert Darnton, presenta la historia de la comunicación y su importancia no cómo un fenómeno moderno sino como uno cuyas plataformas han cambiado pero su importancia no. El texto se dedica principalmente a narrar el caso de los catorce para de ahí derivar o conectar muchos otros casos o cuestiones. Cuando al Rey le llegó un poema en su contra, no dudó en poner a toda la fuerza policiaca en búsqueda del autor; el autor no fue encontrado (o no con certeza), pero los registros de la policía permiten ver de forma superficial e incompleta como fue transmitido este poema. La sociedad transmitía y creaba poemas para dar a conocer opiniones o hechos; se los recitaban o cantaban unos a otros, se los aprendían al instante, o se pasaban papeles con el texto. Hacían lo mismo con canciones: le cambiaban la letra a melodías populares para que fueran más fáciles de recordar, permitiendo a las mismas cargar tanto con el significado de su melodía base como con el de la nueva letra. Sin embargo, durante el proceso de transmisión la letra en ocasiones no quedaba intacta, cada portador transmitía algún cambio: “leves como son los cambios, sugieren el modo en el que se desarrollo el texto, conservando su carácter esencial a través del proceso de transmisión oral” (Darnton 118). Esto hace del texto o la canción una melodía construida por tantas personas que el autor inicial y su version original no es nada más que la base de textos que ayudaron a construir y a presentar lo que siglos después llamaríamos la opinión pública. Poesía y policía muestra como el texto puede ser más poderoso por el hecho de que no haya un autor concreto, lo que le da magnitud al caso, le da a la policía la posibilidad de seguir indagando, y por lo tanto le permite al lector darse cuenta de la gran trayectoria que puede tener un texto cuya transmisión es de boca en boca (o mano en mano): “¿Los habéis leído? Aquí están. Circulan entre el pueblo de parís” (Darnton 50) y “[expresan] un descontento público muy grande” (Darnton 171). El lenguaje está funcionando como un arma que destruye y reconstruye la imagen del rey, de su amante, de cortesanos, y de cualquiera lo suficientemente importante para que circulen textos sobre su persona. Dado que no hay autores claros, lo que ataca es el texto, el lenguaje, no el autor mismo: “la lucha del poder no significaba nada para los catorce jóvenes encerrados en Bastilla. Ellos no tenían Claudia Excaret Santos Campusano idea alguna de las maquinaciones que se producían por encima de sus cabezas. De hecho, a duras penas entendían su delito” (Darnton 65). Cada poema o canción no es solo la opinión de alguien, sino que mediante la falta de autor y la contribución de todo aquel que leía y transmitía, es la opinión de todo Paris. Es un ataque mayor que cualquier individuo. Poesía y policía llega también a presentar autores claros transmitiendo la opinion del pueblo: “y si bien el poeta hablaba en nombre del pueblo francés, no adoptó un tono popular” (Darnton 99). Sin embargo esto es posible solo porque el pueblo se apropia de la opinion del individuo para hacerla suya. No es realmente el autor transmitiendo la opinion del pueblo, sino cada persona que conforma el pueblo decidiendo que esta opinión lo representa o vale ser transmitida, haciéndola suya en masa. El pueblo no se vuelve el autor mismo en todos los casos, pero es capaz de volver una opinión suya más de lo que un individuo es capaz de hablar por todo un pueblo. Es esto lo que le da a los textos la posibilidad de destruir gobiernos (“no se puede negar que es aquí el poder de la opinión publica lo que derrotó al gobierno” [Darnton 195]), el volverse opinión publica. Los archivos de los 14 no solo llevan de un transmisor a otro, llevan también de un texto a otro. La investigación policial nos permite ver al menos de forma superficial la forma en la que estos textos eran transmitidos: que no era lineal, que no se transmitían de uno solo. Los textos eran recitados en reuniones, en clases, en la iglesia. “Se puede crear la impresión de que la población entera componía, memorizaba, declamaba, y entonaba poemas sediciosos sobre el rey” (Darnton 90). Se muestra cómo la comunicación funcionaba para transmitir, atacar, comprender, mucho tiempo antes de las redes sociales. No es esta la era la de la comunicación; o si lo es, no es debido a que antes no hubiera tanta comunicación o no jugara el importante papel que hoy juega, sino a que se ha transformado la forma de transmitirla. La opinión publica sin autores claros puede ser hoy encontrada en memes virales, videos graciosos con texto superpuesto, y también construye y reconstruye la imagen de aquellos a quienes se dirige, y la de la sociedad misma, pero no es por ser contemporánea más comunicativa que los poemas que compartieron los catorce. El pueblo de Paris era en sí mismo el medio de comunicación de la época; construía la información que transmitía, y mediante esta comunicación sin autores concretos permitía que las Claudia Excaret Santos Campusano opiniones le pertenecieran al pueblo mismo. La falta de autor, o la falta de autoridad que tenia el mismo respecto a cómo eran transmitidos y modificados sus textos es lo que permite que estos le pertenezcan a todo París. Es por lo tanto esta pertenencia la que construye la opinión publica (que estaba presente mucho antes de que los filósofos la descubrieran). La opinión publica era poderosa, era una amenaza, era un ataque. Los textos y canciones funcionaban como reconstructor de la imagen de figuras importantes porque representaban la opinión de todo un pueblo. Es, entonces, el hecho de que los poderosos textos puedan pertenecer o representar al pueblo mismo lo que permite que funcionen como arma contra las autoridades, un arma tan grande que se arrestó y exilió a los catorce. Bibliografia Darnton, Robert, and Antonio Saborit. Poesía y policía: Redes De comunicación En El París Del Siglo XVIII. Ediciones Cal y Arena, 2011.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Богдан Галь

    Читается как любопытный, но все же черновик некоей будущей монографии.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Timofey

    Отличная книга по общественным связям в Париже второй половины 18 века. Тем, кто любит Николя ле Флока - читать в обязательном порядке. Громадный жирный минус (из-за чего и ставлю три балла) - половина стихов\песенок, являющихся центром расследования, не переведены с французского. К сожалению, не все настолько продвинуты.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Natacha Pavlov

    "A poem could therefore function simultaneously as an element in a power play by courtiers and as an expression of another kind of power: the undefined but undeniably influential authority known as the 'public voice.'" Following my read of 'The Great Cat Massacre,' I've been cued to Robert Darnton's other volumes. This brief account is an interesting glimpse on the way 18th century French communication networks shaped the population's growing role in public affairs. "A poem could therefore function simultaneously as an element in a power play by courtiers and as an expression of another kind of power: the undefined but undeniably influential authority known as the 'public voice.'" Following my read of 'The Great Cat Massacre,' I've been cued to Robert Darnton's other volumes. This brief account is an interesting glimpse on the way 18th century French communication networks shaped the population's growing role in public affairs.

  5. 5 out of 5

    R.A.

    This is my first microhistory and now I want to read more! Microhistories are short books that are about a very specific subject. This one was about a couple songs that were sung in pre-Revolution France. The fourteen people in the Bastille were there for singing one of these songs and were tortured into admitting who taught them the song. Basically they insulted the king. Overall interesting and short.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ietrio

    This volume is far more readable than other Darnton works, yet still it is written by Darnton.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maksim

    Очень сухой пересказ реальной истории. Автор смешивает детектив и нонфкишн, но в итоге получается ни рыба ни мясо.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Felix Hayman

    Robert Darnton continues his thesis that we tend to think of modern communication systems as developed in the past twenty or thirty years whereas the role of poetry and song in the post Enlightenment was based solidly in the strength of "social networks'.In his latest work Darnton looks at the way political poetry and song ran through the social networks of 18C Paris. This is a fabulous read because it doesn't preclude non academic readers and focuses on the day to day activities of chansonniers Robert Darnton continues his thesis that we tend to think of modern communication systems as developed in the past twenty or thirty years whereas the role of poetry and song in the post Enlightenment was based solidly in the strength of "social networks'.In his latest work Darnton looks at the way political poetry and song ran through the social networks of 18C Paris. This is a fabulous read because it doesn't preclude non academic readers and focuses on the day to day activities of chansonniers in Paris before nad after the Revolution.Well worth a read

  9. 5 out of 5

    The Book : An Online Review at The New Republic

    Stop me if you have heard this one before. A group of citizens are unhappy with the government. A viral communications network is born, spreading words of dissent throughout the land. The authorities crack down with a vengeance. This may sound like the story of a Twitter or Facebook “revolution” in some repressive corner of the world. In fact, it is a tale of how illicit poetry spread through the streets of eighteenth-century Paris. Read more... Stop me if you have heard this one before. A group of citizens are unhappy with the government. A viral communications network is born, spreading words of dissent throughout the land. The authorities crack down with a vengeance. This may sound like the story of a Twitter or Facebook “revolution” in some repressive corner of the world. In fact, it is a tale of how illicit poetry spread through the streets of eighteenth-century Paris. Read more...

  10. 5 out of 5

    John Tessitore

    This is the kind of book a scholar writes when he has mastered both his subject and his profession. Each page carries Darnton's immense scholarly authority and yet the book (without appendices) is only 145 pages long, so Darnton's authority skips through the narrative as if it were a detective caper. The story--in places, a gripping tale--actually benefits from the scholarship. Only senior scholars at elite institutions have the confidence to write such a book. And only a handful of those have t This is the kind of book a scholar writes when he has mastered both his subject and his profession. Each page carries Darnton's immense scholarly authority and yet the book (without appendices) is only 145 pages long, so Darnton's authority skips through the narrative as if it were a detective caper. The story--in places, a gripping tale--actually benefits from the scholarship. Only senior scholars at elite institutions have the confidence to write such a book. And only a handful of those have the talent to pull it off.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Massimo Monteverdi

    Incuriositi dal titolo (fenomenale), si chiude la lettura perplessi, non avendo compreso l'esatto obiettivo dell'indagine. L'Affare dei Quattordici è un esempio di come, in un'epoca dove non esistevano ancora mezzi di comunicazione di massa, la tradizione orale supplisse con efficacia e, anzi, arricchisse di contenuti il dato di partenza. Ma il ruolo del potere poliziesco non emerge a sufficienza. Incuriositi dal titolo (fenomenale), si chiude la lettura perplessi, non avendo compreso l'esatto obiettivo dell'indagine. L'Affare dei Quattordici è un esempio di come, in un'epoca dove non esistevano ancora mezzi di comunicazione di massa, la tradizione orale supplisse con efficacia e, anzi, arricchisse di contenuti il dato di partenza. Ma il ruolo del potere poliziesco non emerge a sufficienza.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jared Adams

    Very interesting look at the politics and intrigue of the Court of Louis XIV. Danton does a good job exploring the cultural and social life of the middle and lower class and how they spread news and information. Also gives good insight to the constant struggle for influence in the court by the nobility and how their actions are viewed by the common people.

  13. 5 out of 5

    David

    An interesting investigation into the curious work of government censorship, during a time in which the authority of the King was completely revered and respected while, at the same time, reviled and mocked in a way that is almost unimaginable even in our time and place.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Louise Leetch

    Publishers Weekly Review

  15. 4 out of 5

    Enrico

    I gave up on this. no reflection on the book, i just did not have the persistence to follow the logic.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dmitry Zabotnov

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dongday

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  19. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ariadne Pires Barbosa

  21. 4 out of 5

    Allysson Lima

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ana

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carolina

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kris Mcmurray

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chris Rhodes

  27. 5 out of 5

    Galina

  28. 4 out of 5

    Citoyennebrett

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mikhail Kiryazov

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