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«Spectator»-Type Periodicals in International Perspective

Enlightened Moral Journalism in Europe and North America


Edited By Misia Sophia Doms

As soon as the Spectator model spread from England to continental Europe and began to be incorporated in French, Dutch and German translations and adaptions, the respective journalistic networks and negotiations regularly exceeded local, regional, and even national boundaries and took on international dimensions. The contributions of the present volume outline the historical development and the intricate literary, artistic, journalistic and scientific communication and distribution networks of the moral weeklies and periodical essays inspired by the Spectator prototype in Europe and North America. Thus, these periodicals become visible as parts and products of ramified learned and creative negotiations on genres, writing techniques and topics.

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The Spectatorial Press in French


The Early Period of French Spectatorial Writing

Abstract: The following article provides a description of the early period of French-language spectatorial writing. In this initial phase, the year 1734 – which was the year when the prominent spectatorial works of Pierre Carlet De Marivaux came to an end – constitutes an important landmark in the history of Spectator-type works written in French. At that time, three nuclei of an emerging journalistic network can be identified: the writings of Julius van Effen, especially his Misantrope, the translation of the prototypical English moral weekly, The Spectator, into French and the works of Marivaux. All of these were preparing new forms of reading and communication whilst simultaneously exploring new aspects of social coexistence, and all played an important role in spreading the growing spectatorial network throughout Europe.

Keywords: French Spectator-type periodicals, early 18th century

During the process of establishing the general network of the Spectator press in 18th century Europe and in the Americas, the French texts occupied an important place. At that time, French was the lingua franca par excellence at the European Courts and was spoken in political and cultural circles all over the continent, from Norway and Denmark to Spain, and from Portugal to the Baltic countries and Russia. At the beginning of the 18th century, the use of English was far less widespread and the English language did not constitute a common linguistic medium at all before Anglomania swept over the European cultures at different...

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