Textual Mobility in the Eighteenth Century: English Novels and the Venetian Press

Sandra Parmegiani

Abstract


Literary texts provide the means to reconcile a readership’s individual experiences with the physical world surrounding them, thereby facilitating the process of identity formation. In eighteenth century Europe, a significant increase in the production and consumption of cross-national literature massively impacted European identities as they came to know themselves in relation to the cultural narratives surrounding them. Centered around Elisabetta Caminer (the first female journalist in Italy) and the Caminer-Fortis project, this article explores modern journalism in the Venetian periodical press. I will analyze select reviews to demonstrate the influence of English novels – often coming from contemporary French translations – and the socio-normative implications that their often controversial narratives brought to the beginnings of Italian transcultural journalism. The tracing of the genealogy of Venice’s active publishing industry brings us to the source of the dissemination of Enlightenment values in eighteenth century Italy, while situating our understanding of its influence on the development of a critically informed Italian readership.


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