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The French Spectators

With the project we are planning a formal and thematic analysis of the Moral Weeklies in French, as there are Le Misantrope [sic], Le Nouveau Spectateur (Van Effen), La Spectatrice, Le Nouveau Spectateur (Bastide) and Le monde comme il est (Bastide). The aim of the work is to show the strategies of fictionalization in these texts and the principal conditions of their narrative construction in the specific surrounding of local 18th century discourse.

There is still no research realized in this important field. It is necessary to describe the way, in which the phenomenon of the Moral Weeklies has taken place in France and French speaking contexts and how this event can be observed in the texts. There is a rich game of masking and unmasking of the narrators at different levels creating a whole system of communication with a great number of narrative microstructures, which are tightly connected with the social discourses, especially with the literary system of France.

First we will establish a formal analysis of these narrative structures. Who tells what, in which circumstances, by what voice. It is necessary to establish a detailed structure of the communicational act to have a possibility of comparison with other European “Spectators”. In the second part of the work, we will give an overview of the catalogue of themes, presented in the texts. The main question will be to ask if they are related to a genuine production in French, or if they are imported by the English patterns. In a third step we will integrate our results in a larger European context and study intertextual phenomenon in different “Spectators”. By the method of a detailed comparison of formal and semantic structures, we can follow the files of influence in the specific areas of Romance language “Spectators”.

In a longer run, the aim is to enlarge our database (http://gams.uni-graz.at/mws) with the Moral Weeklies of the 18th century in French. Some texts are already edited and partly analyzed, e.g. Le Spectateur français and Le Spectateur el le Socrate moderne. In this project we want to start from the current state of research, which was presented not only at the Romanistentag in Munich (2001), where we participated at the panel about Il Caffè, but especially in our own panel about the topic “Moral Weeklies in Europe” at the Romanistentag in Bonn (Sept. 2009) and at the World Conference of the Studies about the 18th Century in Graz and in Rotterdam (July 2011 and July 2015). For the publications of the outcoming results, we have founded a book series at Peter Lang with the title “Die Aufklärung in der Romania”.

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