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The Italian Spectators

With the project we are planning a formal and thematic analysis of the Moral Weeklies in Italy, as there are Il Filosofo alla Moda, La Spettatrice, Lo Spettatore italiano, Gazzetta urbana veneta and L’Osservatore Veneto. 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.

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 last Romanistentag in Bonn (Sept. 2009). These contributions will be published in 2010 (see bibliography).

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 Italy 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 Italy.

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 Italian production, or if they are imported by the English or French 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 Italian Moral Weeklies of the 18th century. Some texts are already edited and partly analyzed, e.g. Il Filosofo alla Moda, L’Osservatore Veneto and La Frusta letteraria. 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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