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The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France 3/18/96 Edition
"Honeysuckle Season" by Mary Ellen Taylor
From author Mary Ellen Taylor comes a story about profound loss, hard truths, and an overgrown greenhouse full of old secrets. | Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
- Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
- Paperback : 465 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0393314421
- ISBN-13 : 978-0393314427
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.17 x 8.25 inches
- Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company; 3/18/96 edition (April 17, 1996)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #898,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Someone left a snide comment for this review, that of course some was omitted as it was excerpted. How convenient. When publishers do it it's called censorship. The lubricity is the only real charm of D'Argens work, as Sade commented (in Juliette), and without it there is no story.
Darnton could have bleeped out the --- words and given us a taste; but this is America, so fidelity to the original text is no special virtue. Is this a children's book? Even Wikipedia is nowhere near as prudish. There is really no point to Darnton's translation except to prove that he can translate.
Darnton surely knew he had no competition -- d'Argens, like Mirabeau, has not had a decent English translation. This goes for most libertine novels from the Enfer of the Bibliotheque Nationale, with the glaring exception of Sade, who is far more objectionable than the innocent and realistic sensuality of D'Argens.
If you don't have to have it rated PG, get the LIBERTINE READER by Michel Feher. If you read French also check out Patrick Wald Lasowski, Philippe Sollers and others whose writings on libertinism and the libertine novel are easily found in Google searches.
I am increasingly interested in how the West attained the present separation of church and state after centuries of the stranglehold Catholics had on life. It took many jolts over a long period, and both questioning of the leaders' hypocrisy, and the ability to disseminate these questions to the public. This book also shows how aspects of civilisation as we know it were vastly different then: just the concept of "public opinion" was new; how powerful it is in democracy now! I should think policy makers would study this book to understand the West, to see how to help democracy prevail in struggling countries, where primary allegiance is demanded by the religion, not the state, and there is no faith in the rule of law.
Who would have thought that such a topic as Forbidden 18thC Literature' would be so contemporary and meaningful. It is how Darnton investigates that makes this book so relevant, as well as his ability to gather facts, really look at the events and see what is going on; thorough, honest, open, without a point to prove. Brilliant!