News and Politics in the Age of Revolution: Jean Luzac's Gazette de Leyde

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This book seeks to establish the importance of the newspaper press in European life in the decades preceding the French Revolution and thereby to illuminate some previously neglected aspects of eighteenth- century life and of the history of journalism. The European newspaper press before 1 789 is not a subject that has attracted many scholars of the period. Peter Gay's two-volume survey, The Enlightenment, for example, contains only two passing references to newspapers ; R. R. Palmer's two-volume work, The Age of the Democratic Revolution , has no index entries for either "newspapers" or "press." And yet there is no question that the philosophes who populate Gay's study and the politicians who make a new world in Palmer's were regular newspaper readers. Specialized works on the history of the press do discuss the newspapers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but those surveys that aim to provide a grand synthesis of the history of journalism, such as Robert Desmond's four-volume work on news reporting and Anthony Smith's short book, The Newspaper: An International History, tend to give the subject short shrift. They acknowledge that the first newspapers appeared in Germany and the Netherlands soon after 1 600, and they mention the foundation of the Gazette de France in 1 63 1 , but for all practical purposes the continental European press then disappears from their view until 1 789. Historians' neglect of the news journals that brought the thinkers and doers of the eighteenth century their knowledge of what was happening in the political world obscures a vital part of the past; journalism scholars' unfamiliarity with the European press before the French Revolution skews their picture of how the modern news media came to be.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages292
ISBN (Electronic)9781501701511
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1989 by Cornell University. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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