Chestertown, MD, October 14, 2003 — Washington College's Conrad Wingate Memorial Lecture Series presents “Mademoiselle Bonafon and the Private Life of Louis XV: What the Butler Saw and What the Public Read in 18th Century France,” a lecture by Princeton historian Robert Darnton. This free lecture will be held Thursday, October 23, at 4 p.m. in the College's Norman James Theatre. The public is invited to attend.
A former Rhodes scholar, Dr. Darnton holds a Doctor of Philosophy in history from Oxford University (1964) and now serves as the Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of European History at Princeton University. He is well known for his behind-the-scenes approach and research into the undersides of history, the history of books and the history of censorship with a specific focus on 18th century France. His books include The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History (1985); Berlin Journal: 1989-1990 (1993); The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France (1996), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; and the recently released George Washington's False Teeth: An Unconventional Guide to the Eighteenth Century (Norton, 2003). In his October 23rd lecture, Dr. Darnton will discuss his most recent research on the underground literature in France attacking King Louis XV and the general theme of illicit literature as it related to public opinion in 18th century Paris. Taking an “historical perspective to current questions” viewpoint, Dr. Darnton sees 18th century France as a society awash in “information” and an underground press with parallels to our own time with the profusion of information and rumor on the Internet.
The Conrad M. Wingate Memorial Lecture in History is held in honor of the late Conrad Meade Wingate '23, brother of late Washington College Visitor Emeritus Phillip J. Wingate '33 and the late Carolyn Wingate Todd. He was principal of Henderson (MD) High School at the time of his death from cerebrospinal meningitis at age 27. At Washington College, he was president of the Dramatic Association, president of the Adelphia Literary Society and vice president of the Student Council in 1922-23.