By Robert Darnton
George Washington was once inaugurated as president in 1789 with one the teeth in his mouth, a decrease left bicuspid. The "Father of His state" had units of fake enamel that have been made up of every thing yet wooden, from elephant ivory and walrus tusk to enamel of a fellow human. Darnton aargues that the Enlightenment had fake tooth additionally - that it used to be now not the "Father of the fashionable World", answerable for all its advances and transgressions. In restoring the Enlightenment to a human scale, Darnton locates its actual goals, targets and importance. So too with the French Revolution, one other icon of the 18th century, approached the following throughout the gossip, songs and broadsides that shaped the political anxious approach of Paris throughout the ancien regime. Figures that we predict we all know - Voltaire, Jefferson, Rousseau, Condorcet, even historians themselves emerge afresh in Darnton's arms, their energy, if now not their the teeth intact.
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Extra resources for George Washington's False Teeth: An Unconventional Guide to the Eighteenth Century
4 A few days later the police hauled him off to the Bastille, his pockets bulging with poems about taxes and the sex life of the king. Mairobert's case, and dozens like it, illustrate a point so self-evident that it has never been noticed: The media of the Old Regime were mixed. They transmitted an amalgam of overlapping, interpenetrat ing messages, spoken, written, printed, pictured, and sung. The most difficult ingredient in this mixture for the historian to isolate and analyze is oral communication, because it usually disappeared into the air.
De Liamil (Mailly) overcame his awkwardness and dragged him to bed. She had been coached by the chief minister, a mullah (prelate) named Jeflur (Fleury), who used her influence to fortify his own. But then the second sister, Mme. de Leutinemil (Vintimille ) , decided to play the same game, and she succeeded even better, thanks to tutoring from a still more wicked courtier, the kam de Kelirieu (duc de Richelieu) . She died, how ever, after giving birth to a child. So the king took up the third sister, Mme.
But evanescent as it was , contemporaries took it seri ously. (See Figure 6 . ) They often remarked on it in letters and diaries, and some of their comments conform quite closely to the model that I just presented in the form of a flow chart. Here, for example, is a contemporary description of how news traveled by word of mouth: "A vile courtier puts these infamies [reports of royal orgies 1 into rhyming couplets and, through the intermediary of flunkies, dis tributes them all the way to the marketplace.