The Spectators in the international context

The journalistic genre of the Spectators (or Moral Weeklies), which had its origins at the beginning of the 18th century in England, spread rapidly all over Europe and became an important feature for the discourse system of the Enlightenment.

The contents of the Spectators are directed, above all, to a broad, urban readership. The aim was to spread ethical values and moral concepts of the Enlightenment using an amusing manner. Additionally, the papers were highly involved in the development of public opinion.

The objective of our largely invested project is the creation of a central data base containing all European Spectators. Currently, electronic versions and analysis of Spanish, Italian as well as French texts are provided. In addition, numerous perspectives of characteristic levels of description and forms of narration are visualized. Further texts are going to be edited and analyzed.

Klaus-Dieter Ertler, Alexandra Fuchs, Michaela Fischer, Elisabeth Hobisch, Martina Scholger

February 2011