Blikk for virkelighet

Ellen Krefting


Le 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 âpublic sphereâ following and revising Habermasâ 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 editorâs presentation of so called âveritable storiesâ (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 â which adds to the âmodernityâ of a periodical that already from its start was associated with everything âmodernâ.

Emneord (Nøkkelord)

example, case, public sphere, 17th century, modern, periodicals



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ISSN 2387-6727

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