chapter  2
The Paradise of Freedom: Paris and theProvinces, 1790-1791
Pages 39

Between the summer of 1789 and the completion of the constitution in September 1791, the French press enjoyed a period of unprecedented political freedom. Combined with low publishing costs and intense political interest, this resulted in a rapid growth in the number of newspapers on the market. In Paris alone over 300 new titles were published during 1790, and almost as many again during the first nine months of 1791. In the provinces the total probably reached 200 over the same 21-month period. Many were short-lived, collapsing sometimes after their prospectus or, more often, after the first few numbers; yet a significant number survived for months or years, to find a secure foothold in the market. The result, as one pamphleteer lamented in 1790, was a bewildering choice of titles, but much greater freedom of choice and style.1