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Introduction

  • Lindsay PorterEmail author
Chapter
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Part of the War, Culture and Society, 1750-1850 book series (WCS)

Abstract

The first studies of rumour, by Allport and Postman, were conducted immediately following World War II, and concluded that war-time news blackouts led to popular rumours detrimental to national morale. This idea was developed by later studies to suggest that rumours are a consequence of a collective search for truth. During the French Revolution, the public experienced a surfeit rather than an absence of news; running concurrently with the unprecedented numbers of new publications and government decrees was news spread by word of mouth. Both were informed by contemporary and historical events, as well as an older, collective “folk” memory that resurrected old beliefs in plots and conspiracies. An analysis of rumour as a phenomenon in its own right allows new perspectives on a “history-from-below” approach to the Revolution and on the mentalité of those who lived through it.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ManchesterUK

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