In honor of Bastille Day, here’s a 2011 New Republic article on how revolutionary poems may have, “in some small way, laid the groundwork for the storming of the Bastille” by spreading ideas like the Internet does today.
Viral Avant la Lettre – Emily Parker – New Republic – January 19, 2011
“Stop me if you have heard this one before. A group of citizens are unhappy with the government. A viral communications network is born, spreading words of dissent throughout the land. The authorities crack down with a vengeance. This may sound like the story of a Twitter or Facebook ‘revolution’ in some repressive corner of the world. In fact, it is a tale of how illicit poetry spread through the streets of eighteenth-century Paris.”