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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 German-Speaking Switzerland


Abstract: This article investigates the specific national shape of the Swiss moral weeklies written in German. Even though the Swiss editors and authors were part of the wider German-speaking literary community, from the beginning they also thought about the specific target readerships of their periodicals: The rivalry between the Discourse der Mahler from Zurich and the Freytags-Blättlein from Bern led to the development of specifically Swiss-centred journals, in which Swiss politics and manners became very important foci for discussion.

Keywords: Swiss Spectator-type periodicals, German-speaking moral weeklies, Swiss-centred journalism

Over the past twenty years, knowledge about the Swiss Enlightenment has increased dramatically and provided new, profound insights into the politics, philosophy, culture and society of 18th century Switzerland. Different academic disciplines, including history and philosophy, have extended our understanding of the Ancien Régime, the precursor to modern Switzerland, and of its leading ideas and topics. The current scope of interest extends from studies on urban and rural architecture and other local subjects, and surveys of academics-, economics- and ethics-focussed associations and societies to works on the history of literature, poetics, political ideas or pedagogical thought.1 Many of these studies outline the connection between the Swiss and European Enlightenment; not to homogenise the history of ideas and discourses, but rather in an attempt to highlight their individual differences and to illustrate specific aspects that were characteristic of Switzerland’s Enlightenment in particular.

As a result of this research, the scientific community has become...

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