1st Edition

The Dissemination of News and the Emergence of Contemporaneity in Early Modern Europe

Edited By Brendan Dooley Copyright 2010

    Modern communications allow the instant dissemination of information and images, creating a sensation of virtual presence at events that occur far away. This sensation gives meaning to the notions of 'real time' and of a 'present' that is shared within and among societies”in other words, a sensation of contemporaneity. But how were time and space conceived before modernity? When did this begin to change in Europe? To help answer such questions, this volume looks at the exchange of information and the development of communications networks at the dawn of journalism, when widespread public and private networks first emerged for the transmission of political news. What happened in Prague quickly reached Venice, and what happened in Naples was soon the talk of Hamburg. Gradually, enough became known about daily affairs around Europe for people to begin to think in terms of a 'shared present'. An analysis of contemporaneity adds a new dimension to the study of the origins of news and media history, as well as to the origins of a European identity. For whilst our understanding of the circulation of manuscript newsletters and printed reports has increased in recent years, much less is known about the impact of this burgeoning journalism on a pan-European scale. Each essay in this volume explores the ways in which this international impact helped foster a developing sense of contemporaneity that encompassed not just single countries, but Europe as a whole. Taken together the collection offers the first panoramic view of the way stories were born, grew and matured during their transmission from source to source, from country to country. The results published here suggest that a continent-wide network, including manuscript and print, for the transmission of stories from place to place, existed and was effective.

    Contents: Preface, Brendan Dooley; Introduction; Part 1 Joining Time and Space: The Origins: Philip of Spain: the spider's web of news and information, Cristina Borreguero Beltràn; News networks between Italy and Europe, Mario Infelise; The early German newspaper - a medium of contemporaneity, Johannes Weber. Part 2 Time, Motion and Structure in Early Modern Communications: The birth of Maria de' Medici (26 April 1575): hearsay, correspondence, and historiographical errors, Alessio Assonitis; Making it present, Brendan Dooley; Contemporaneity in 1672-1679: the Paris Gazette, the London Gazette and the Teutsche Kriegs-Kurier (1672-1679), Sonja Schultheißs-Heinz; 'The blowing of the Messiah's trumpet': reports about Sabbatai Sevi and Jewish unrest in 1665-1667, Ingrid Maier and Daniel C. Waugh. Part 3 Inter-European Spaces and Moments: Handwritten newsletters as interregional information sources in Central and Southeastern Europe, Zsuzsa Barbarics-Hermanik; Between the French Gazette and the Dutch French language newspapers, Charles-Henri Depezay; Antwerp and Brussels as inter-European spaces in news exchange, Paul Arblaster; Offices of intelligence and expanding social spaces, Astrid Blome. Part 4 New Methods and Approaches: Narrating contemporaneity: text and structure in English news, Nicholas Brownlees; Historical text mining and corpus-based approaches to the newsbooks of the Commonwealth, Andrew Hardie, Tony McEnery and Scott Songlin Piao; Epilogue; Index.


    Professor Brendan Dooley, University College, Cork

    '... Brendan Dooley is to be congratulated on overseeing this complicated and stimulating work.' Library & Information History ’The authors reveal how the dissemination of news was a collective process linking writers, translators, printers, readers, and listeners across Europe.’ Journal of Modern History ’Taken as a whole, the book is well worth attention.’ English Historical Review