Pages of progress : German liberalism and the popular press after 1848 / Chase Richards.

Richards, Chase.
viii, 350 p. : ill. ; 29 cm.
Local subjects:
Penn dissertations -- History.
History -- Penn dissertations.
This dissertation is a publishing history, as well as a cultural and political history, of the German "family papers" [Familienblatter ] during their rapid rise after the Revolution of 1848. General-interest magazines produced for domestic consumption, the family papers were inexpensive, illustrated, and appealing, factors that together won them millions of readers in the 1850s and 1860s. The family papers belonged to a print market that was dramatically expanding across the industrializing West, but what most set them apart from comparable publications in Great Britain, France, or the United States was their founding impulse. With the family papers, not only might enterprising liberals in German publishing make a handsome profit, but they might also galvanize a people whose distance from liberalism had been identified as a principal reason for the revolution's disappointing outcome. Reading, even in the politically hostile climate that followed, would pick up where direct political action had left off. Using a vast base of archival and published sources, this study treats related episodes in the story of the family papers at a high level of detail, and from a number of vantage points, including material textuality, censorship, visual culture, and the history of reading. In the picture that emerges from this array of approaches and evidence, post-1848 German liberalism, seen in practice, shows itself a surprisingly resourceful movement. Yet it also proves susceptible to the constraints of print capitalism, the limitations of ideology, state repression, and even the logic of the printed page. The family papers almost singlehandedly launched the popular press in Germany, and they cleared ground for liberal-democratic public opinion in German political culture. What drove them, who read them, and what they achieved speaks to the possibilities and perils of German history at a crossroads.
Adviser: Warren Breckman.
Thesis (Ph.D. in History) -- University of Pennsylvania, 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
Breckman, Warren, advisor.
Brophy, James M. committee member.
Chartier, Roger committee member.
Steinberg, Jonathan committee member.
University of Pennsylvania. History.
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