Academic journal article Journalism History

Making the News: Modernity & the Mass Press in Nineteenth-Century France

Academic journal article Journalism History

Making the News: Modernity & the Mass Press in Nineteenth-Century France

Article excerpt

de la Motte, Dean, and Jeannene M. Przyblyski, eds. Making the News: Modernity A the Mass Press in Nineteenth-Century France. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999. 386 pp. $22.95.

This is a compilation of historical topics written by historians, art historians, and literary critics. The editors, self-described as a literature scholar and an art historian, celebrate the interdisciplinary approach while admitting their frustrations in prodding interdisciplinary cooperation from disparate authors: "True interdisciplinary continues to provoke considerable resistance from the academic establishment." That frank admission on the acknowledgements page encourages the reader to indulge authors who occasionally offer analyses which are difficult for the non-specialist to comprehend. Yet intrinsically, such a compilation must be aimed at the non-specialist. Fortunately, most of the authors do this most of the time; only occasionally did the reviewer lose his way in a woods of poststructural contextualist dialectic.

Specifically this collection offers an interesting compilation of topics relating to an under-studied era. France in the last century set a powerful cultural and political influence upon the world, not only in its literature, art, and revolutions, but also in its remark-ably varied journalism. From 1830, beginning the book's chronology, to the century's turn, journalists tacked through a whirlwind from tight censorship to total freedom, from princely proprietors to penny press read by literally a million people. A small chunk of this huge and complex world has been chiseled away for examination here.

Whether or not a historian cares about French history in general, she or he should find the result worth reading. …

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