From the particular angle of the works of Jean-Baptiste-Claude Delisle de Sales, the article traces the evolution of the French censorial system in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The essay aims in particular to reconstruct the changes that have occurred in the censorship of books during the Consulate and the Empire and their repercussions on the historiography of the French Revolution drawn up and published in the Napoleonic age. Based on sources currently conserved at the Paris National Archives and the National Library of France, the essay follows the vicissitudes of Delisle de Sales and other authors of historical works of the early nineteenth century as a thread capable to high light the complex mechanisms of the control of collective memory implemented by the Napoleonic government. The topic of the early historiography on revolutionary events is placed in the perspective of the history of the book, of publishing and of reading practices, as well as in the perspective of the affirmation of the author’s literary property between the 18th and 19th centuries.
Keywords: Enlightenment, French Revolution, Napoleon I, censorship, books, memory