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Utopia, reform and revolution: the political assumptions of L.S. Mercier's L'an 2440

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Robert Darnton has recently found that L.S. Mercier's utopia, L'An 2440, was the most widely sold clandestine work of the late eighteenth century. This article first attempts to explain the appeal of the book to contemporaries. It then notes the sudden and complete eclipse of the work and offers an explanation for this based on the political achievements of the French Revolution on the one hand and on a shift in the climate of opinion on the other.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of General History, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel. Email:

Publication date: 2001-04-01

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