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Storytelling in the Spectators / Storytelling dans les spectateurs

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Edited By Klaus-Dieter Ertler, Yvonne Völkl, Elisabeth Hobisch, Alexandra Fuchs and Hans Fernández

The Spectators, also known as Moral Weeklies, were an important magazine genre which came into being in the early 18th century and which shaped European identity by developing the strategies of critical journalism and by popularizing the ideas and values of the Age of Enlightenment. Investigating modes of storytelling in the Spectators is an important starting point for a paradigmatic investigation of our historical, cultural and philosophical evolution since the Enlightenment and the impact of these magazines on issues of identity in today’s Europe. In this collection on ‹Storytelling in the Spectators›, we present a series of contributions which study English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Czech, Polish and Danish-Norwegian periodicals.

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From Anecdote to Anecdote: The Chaotic Order of Storytelling in Dutch Anti-Spectators around 17251

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Long before Justus van Effen’s first spectatorial magazine in Dutch was published in the 1730s, the spectator was already an established genre in the Low Countries that would soon produce its satirical counterparts. The first Spectator-parodies appeared in the 1720s. One of the most successful authors of these satirical moral weeklies was Jacob Campo Weyerman, who explicitly mocked the spectatorial genre in his magazines. Dutch literary historiography created a strict dividing line between the spectatorial magazine and the satirical magazines of Weyerman, that often has been criticised over the last decades. This paper will focus on the differences and similarities between Weyerman’s journals and the spectatorial genre. It will in particular investigate the way in which Weyerman’s stories, kept together by series of anecdotes, relay on a kind of “chaotic order” that is different from the more classical rhetorical structure of spectatorial essay in the tradition of van Effen and others.

The Spectatorial Genre in the Netherlands

The rise and heydays of the spectatorial genre in the Low Countries is inextricably bound up with Justus van Effen (1684–1735) and his several spectatorial projects, most importantly of course Le Misantrope and his first and only spectator in Dutch language, De Hollandsche Spectator. This Dutch Spectator must have been very popular and at least 360 issues appeared in a period of about 5 years, between 1731 and 1736. Long before van Effen however, the spectator in fact was already an established genre in the Low...

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