The Kiss of Lamourette

by Robert Darnton.Norton, $19.95. Professor Darnton offers, as “Reflections in Cultural History,” essays on a variety of topics in a variety of modes. His discussion of the influence of individuals, as opposed to groups, on the French Revolution is serious and unorthodox. His “Survival Strategy for Academic Authors” is wryly satirical. His reminiscence of his youthful employment with The New York Times is funny and ultimately provocative, for it develops into an analysis of the social assumptions and professional methods that, in his opinion, create unconscious selfcensorship by reporters. There are also essays on schools of historical study, and in these the author has been unable to avoid a certain amount of academic jargon, although he has plainly tried to do so. Altogether, an interesting grab bag of pieces.