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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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Case Study: The Intercultural Dimension of Antonio Piazza’s Gazzetta urbana veneta


Abstract: On the basis of the Gazzetta urbana veneta, the following article addresses the playful use of stories, which is a defining characteristic of the spectatorial genre. As an example for the absorption of foreign communication patterns into an Italian moral periodical, the present paper is going to study the migration of the story entitled “Biblioteca di una Dama di spirito”, which originated from the English moral weekly The Spectator and was subsequently adapted and published in Piazza’s journal.

Keywords: Italian Spectator-type periodicals, Venetian journalism, intercultural influences

The Gazzetta urbana veneta1 (“The Venetian Urban Gazette”, 1787–1798) by Antonio Piazza was published quite late in the era of moral spectatorial writing. Therefore, Piazza was very familiar with the structural principles of composing a moral journal and was also able to refer to a large repertoire of stories that had previously appeared in other periodicals. I will start my presentation with some general information about the Gazzetta urbana veneta and its relationship with the spectatorial genre as a whole. Subsequently, I will turn to the intercultural dimension of the Gazzetta urbana veneta. Using as an example the short story “Biblioteca di una Dama di spirito” (“Library of a Lady Sparkling with Wit”), I will demonstrate how foreign discourses and foreign texts were included or imitated in the Gazzetta and how they are connected to the wider literary tradition espoused in this Italian moral periodical.

A moral journal

Even though Piazza’s journal...

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