Robert Darnton is Harvard's Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and University Librarian. The former Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of European History at Princeton, Professor Darnton is an alumnus of Harvard College and Harvard’s Society of Fellows, a former Rhodes Scholar and MacArthur Fellow, and Chevalier of France’s Légion d’Honneur, Professor Darnton is an internationally recognized scholar on the history of the book and the literary world of Enlightenment France.
Professor Darnton has served as president of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (1987–1991) and of the American Historical Association (1999). He has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the British Academy, the Academia Europaea, and the Académie Royale de Langue et de Littérature Françaises of Belgium. He has been a visiting professor or fellow at many universities and institutes for advanced study, and his outside activities include service as a trustee of the New York Public Library and the Oxford University Press (USA).
Robert Darnton is the author of numerous books and articles. Recent books include The Devil in the Holy Water, or the Art of Slander from Louis XIV to Napoleon, and The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future, both published in 2009. Earlier works include Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment in France (1968), The Business of Enlightenment: A Publishing History of the Encyclopédie (1979), The Literary Underground of the Old Regime (1982), The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (1984), The Kiss of Lamourette: Reflections in Cultural History (1989), Revolution in Print: The Press in France 1775–1800 (1989, Daniel Roche co-editor), Edition et sédition (1991, written in French, not available in English), which won the French Prix Médicis, Berlin Journal, 1989–1990 (1991), The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Prerevolutionary France (1995), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and George Washington’s False Teeth: An Unconventional Guide to the Eighteenth Century (2003).