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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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Embedded in the Mainstream of Argumentation: Narratives in Die mühsame Bemerckerin

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The majority of Spectators in the Polish Kingdom emerged in Gdańsk, the main city of the Province of Royal Prussia where early steps in press development had been taken much sooner than in other regions of Poland. Gdańsk, located by the Baltic Sea, developed a dynamic press market during the 17th and 18th centuries mainly due to its politically and economically powerful German-speaking population. Therefore, nearly all periodicals printed there, not excluding the Spectators (published in Gdańsk since the 1730s), were written in German. The other Spectators’ publishing place in the Polish Kingdom was the capital city of, Warsaw, the centre of the Polish nobility culture. However, only a few Spectators in Polish and in German came out there relatively late, in the second half of the 18th century.

Die mühsame Bemerckerin derer Menschlichen Handlungen, the first Spectator published in the Polish Kingdom and thus the first link among the Spectator–network in this area, came out in Gdańsk at the end of 1735. Similarly as almost all moral periodicals appearing there in the 1730s and 1740s (these years can be named the golden decades of Gdańsk Spectators) and in contrary to the later ones considered by the researchers lowbrow and much less interested in literature and philosophy (Grześkowiak-Krwawicz 1998, 141) Die mühsame Bemerckerin represents an aspiring and highly regarded version of the genre. Additionally, it can be considered a relatively close Spectator adaptation continuing its line in...

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