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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 Russian Empire

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The Moral Weeklies from St. Petersburg

Abstract: In Russia, spectatorial journalism started with the educational efforts of empress Catherine II. At her personal suggestion, the moral weekly Vsjakaja vsjačina was published by Georgij Kozickij. While this weekly – which also contained contributions by the tsarina herself – tried to avert political criticism, later moral weeklies openly criticised the Russian nobility for the exploitation of the serfs.

Keywords: Spectator-type periodicals in the Russian Empire, Saint Petersburg moral weeklies, educational efforts

In addition to his reformations of the political and military system, the Russian monarch, Peter I. (1672–1725), also based his advancement of science and culture preferentially on West European paradigms. The new Russian capital of Saint Petersburg, founded in 1703, originally represented the physical manifestation of the ruler’s will to renew his empire according to Western patterns. The social and cultural life of the city, which exerted considerable influence on the whole empire, was characterised by two specific features. On the one hand, all innovative impulses in various areas of life came from the imperial court, directly from the founder of the city and his successors. On the other hand, Western paradigms were considered as the golden standard for any potential transformation processes, while at the same time the adopted traditional Western patterns experienced an integrative adjustment to Russian reality as well as a transformation through the merging of the adopted other with the original own.1

These features, which were significant wherever cultural...

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