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«Spectator»-Type Periodicals in International Perspective

Enlightened Moral Journalism in Europe and North America

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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 from the Kingdom of Bohemia

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Abstract: In Bohemia, spectatorial magazines became popular at an even later date than in the Habsburg Hereditary Lands: the first Bohemian moral weekly was only published in 1770. In subsequent decades, spectatorial writing paved the way for the replacement of baroque topics and ways of writing with discussions that centred on Enlightenment themes and on literary techniques. Late Spectator-type magazines either followed popular Enlightenment aims or else developed into periodicals, which focussed specifically on literature or entertainment.

Keywords: Spectator-type periodicals in Bohemia, Prague moral weeklies, popular Enlightenment

To date, Enlightenment literature in the regions on the eastern periphery of the ancient Roman Empire in general, and that of Bohemia in particular, has received comparatively little attention by the academic community. For many decades, German-language Enlightenment literature from both the Czech- and German-speaking regions of Bohemia was largely ignored by German and Austrian Germanists, be that in an effort to retrospectively show respect for today’s political borders or due to more practical problems. Moreover, the Czech research on this literature has been inhibited for a long time by heuristic difficulties and political animosities. In Czech literary history, 18th-century German literature used to play a role as a negative backdrop to the Czech national master narrative.

Although this type of periodical literature has recently begun to attract more interest from Czech, German and Austrian researchers than it did in previous decades, to this day there is still no general overview of the genre of...

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