SammendragLe Mercure galant, launched in 1672 and appearing monthly in Paris from 1678, is one of the earliest literary periodicals in Europe. Despite its broad and eager readership, and the longevity of this manifold journalistic phenomenon, the periodical has received surprisingly little attention in research on the early formation of a modern "public sphere" following and revising Habermas' groundbreaking study from 1962. This paper examines how Le Mercure galant managed to engage readers of both sexes from all over France in a public debate about private and trivial matters, about love and marriage, education and fashion, moral principles and appropriate conduct. It traces the important rhetorical forms and communicative strategies used, with a special focus on the editor's presentation of so called "veritable stories" (histoires véritables) from the everyday world. The paper highlights the didactic functions of these stories, based on the age old rhetoric of examples. But it also demonstrates how certain stories are presented as cases, with dilemmas to be solved by the readers, in a way that is connected to the (juridical, theological and literary) practice of casuistry. The play with dilemmas opened a secular, public room for discussions - which adds to the "modernity" of a periodical that already from its start was associated with everything "modern".
Forfattere beholder opphavsretten og gir tidsskriftet rett til første publisering av arbeidet. En Creative Commons-lisens (CC BY-SA 4.0) gir samtidig andre rett til å dele arbeidet med henvisning til arbeidets forfatter og at det først ble publisert i dette tidsskriftet.