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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: No Particular Place to go. Allegorical Devices in Jens Schelderup Sneedorff’s Den patriotiske Tilskuer


Abstract: The essayistic, narrative treatment of various aspects of daily life in the spectatorial periodicals is one of the major inventions of this genre. In using this literary form the weeklies resemble the newly emerging genre of the novel. At the same time, older literary forms like allegory are also present in the moral weeklies, although they are retooled for a contemporary audience. The present case study on the temple allegories in Sneedorff’s Danish Den patriotiske Tilskuer will show, that allegory has its proper semantics with a distinct tendency toward abstraction and generalization in contrast to a mimesis based on empirical investment in the concrete and demonstrable.

Keywords: Danish Spectator-type periodicals, allegory, Jens Schelderup Sneedorff

According to Ian Watt’s classical study The Rise of the Novel from 1957, the genre of the novel emerged and came into its own in 18th century England by rejecting traditional plots and characters and instead replacing them with realistic minutiae. In the “controversy between neo-classical generality and realistic particularity”, the novel distinguishes itself from other genres and previous forms of fiction, Watt says, “by the amount of attention it habitually accords both to the individualization of its characters and to the detailed presentation of their environment.”1 To be sure, this change is not a minor one; on the contrary, it coincides with one of the most dramatic transformations of Western civilization since the Renaissance, transformations that achieved nothing less than to replace “the unified world picture of...

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