Select Page

Robert Darnton, cultural historian, author and recipient of the 2012 National Humanities Medal, will visit Eastern Kentucky University on Thursday, April 19, to discuss “Censorship and Literary Transformation: Bourbon France, British India and Communist East Germany.”

Darnton’s remarks will serve as the concluding installment in the 2017-18 Chautauqua lecture series exploring transformations. Free and open to the public, the presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building.

A prominent scholar in both the U.S. and Europe, Darnton attended Oxford University, where he received bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy. Following graduation, he enjoyed a brief stint as a reporter for The New York Times before becoming a junior fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard. He went on to teach at Princeton University from 1968 to 2007, when he secured positions as a Carl H. Pforzheimer university professor and director of the University Library at Harvard, where he still works today.

Outside of the classroom, he is a trustee of the New York Public Library and the Oxford University Press. He has also served as president of the American Historical Association and the International Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies. Darnton is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, often called the “Genius” prize, a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Del Duca World Prize in the Humanities awarded by Institut de France in 2013, and was recently elected to the French Legion of Honor.

Darnton is a prolific author, having written and edited more than a dozen books, including his most recent publication, “Censors at Work: How States Shaped Literature.” He is best known for his contributions to the history of the French Enlightenment. “Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century,” a landmark journal in the field, dedicated an entire issue to Darnton’s work.

The Darnton lecture will be sponsored by the Office of Graduate Education and Research; EKU Libraries; the Department of History; the Department of English and Theatre; the Department of Languages, Cultures and Humanities; the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; the Bluegrass State Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence; and the Honors Program.

For more information about the Chautauqua lecture series, visit or contact Chautauqua Lecture Coordinator Erik Liddell at