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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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The Transformation of Stories in Bohemian Spectators and the Problem of Observing Characters’ Minds

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This paper focuses on the development of narrative structure within the fictional prose of the mostly German-languages spectators, or moral weeklies, written in Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia1. In line with the analysis of narratologists Lubomír Doležel (1991), Dorrit Cohn (1978), and Michail Bachtin (1986), I seek to portray the narrative innovations of spectators as the effect of two tendencies: first, as a digression from traditional plot-orientated narratives, as middle-class sociolects and a tendency toward reflexivity penetrated fictional prose language; second, as a process of neutralization of narrators’ and characters’ discourse, which Doležel described as a substance of “narrative transformation” of fictional prosa2. I focus on the narrative techniques of observing and representing the inner psychology of characters in the spectatorial storytelling, a crucial aspect of the aforementioned tendencies (Doležel 1973, Cohn 1978).

My paper is structured in three parts. In the first part, I briefly characterize the narrative modes of fictional prose before the spectator genre became popularized within the Bohemian Lands and compare it to the prose found in the early Bohemian and Moravian spectators from the beginning of 1770s. I then describe the main characteristics of storytelling in Bohemian and Moravian spectators and the separation of the single story from the compact narrative flow and short stories of genuine spectators. In the second part, I focus on the ways in which this appeared in a specific case study. I analyze the transformation of the fictional ←193 | 194→prose caused...

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