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THE BIBLIO FILE is one of the world's leading podcasts about "the book" and an inquiry into the wider world of book culture. Hosted by NIGEL BEALE it features wide ranging conversations with authors, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and other best practitioners on Robert Darnton's "communications circuit."

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Mar 30, 2020

Robert Darnton is Harvard University's Carl H. Pforzheimer Professor, Emeritus and University Librarian, Emeritus

He was educated at Harvard and Oxford (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 came to fill the roles mentioned above. 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, and the Del Duca World Prize in the Humanities. 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, his most popular work) and The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Prerevolutionary France (1995, a study of the underground book trade).  
 
We met at his office in the Widener Library to talk, among other things, about why book history in so exciting; French police enforcing edicts on the book trade; The Private Life of Louis XV,  sex, scandal and politics; David Hall; the fertile crescent of publishing houses around France in the 18th century; book pirating; the communications circuit; and Roger Chartier, and the fluidity of texts.