Absolutism was introduced in 1660, with a Royal Law (Kongeloven) vesting all legislative, executive, judicial and fiscal power in the sovereign king. The market for print was placed under even stricter control in order to protect absolutist power and religious uniformity. Scholars have traditionally seen absolutism as the main reason for the centralised and slow development of the printed news press, especially in the Norwegian part of the kingdom during most of the eighteenth century. As we shall see, the official censorship ‘rescript’, issued by the king in 1701, laid particularly detailed and comprehensive constraints on the news press, explicitly prohibiting the blending of ‘news’
In this chapter, I aim to show that concerns beyond the political were involved in the sharp distinction between news and opinion that was articulated in the censorship instruction. I will argue that the structure of the media landscape in eighteenth-century Denmark-Norway was shaped by the controlling state which based its conception of news – as distinct from opinion – also on epistemological worries concerning the reliability of truth claims which haunted all of Europe at the time. I will raise the question of whether this distinction had only repressive effects and will try to show how the ‘censorship rescript’ of 1701 can be said to have contributed productively to shaping not only the book market, but the entire media landscape in eighteenth-century Denmark-Norway. My contention is that the sharp distinction between news and opinion opened a favourable space for the medium of the journals, turning the craze for news into what was referred to at the time as a fast-spreading ‘writing disease’, an urge to express one’s own knowledge and opinion on a variety of matters. As a consequence, the journals, rather than the news press, became the vehicle for the phenomenon that we can call the ‘Northern Enlightenment’.
Literacy and Censorship
“The Danish and Norwegian absolutist hereditary Monarch is hereafter to be looked upon and honoured by all subjects as the brightest and most elevated Head on our Earth, and to be above all manmade Laws …, accountable to no one but God”.3 So announced the 1665 Lex Regia, Europe’s only formal absolutist constitution. But long before this foundation of absolutism, the government aimed to build a Lutheran state composed of pious and obedient subjects. One important vehicle for streamlining religious and intellectual life was literacy. As Charlotte Appel has demonstrated, the ‘Catechism policy’ of the seventeenth-century church strongly promoted literacy.4 Luther’s Shorter
Absolutism further promoted the process of political centralisation and intellectual universalisation, strengthening requirements for schooling and for desirable printed material, ranging from religious literature to political texts supportive of the government. The institution of pre-publication censorship itself dated back to the reformation, but it became no less important and meticulously played out with absolutism. Censorship was control of communication; it was supposed to protect the secrecy and privacy of policy making and to exclude any printed expression incongruent with or subversive of the monarchy and the Lutheran church. At the same time, the censorship system secured the verticality of communication between king and subjects. The government made royal decisions publicly known so that subjects could see, understand and obey them. On the other hand, individual subjects were allowed to pass petitions and suggestions directly to the king, as a kind of private communication from below, hidden from the public. The state sought to maintain loyalty and obedience by creating the impression of a benevolent and merciful
The Danish Law and the Norwegian Law promulgated in the 1680s provided the framework for the organisation of both theological and political pre-publication censorship.10 Printers and booksellers needed royal privilege, and they were only allowed to publish and disseminate texts that had also obtained approbation – in the form of what was called imprimatur – by an official censor. The approbation signalled that the text did not contain anything that challenged or insulted their Majesties or the Church. People responsible for printed material dishonouring the king could face torture and execution. This applied not only to domestic publications, but also to imported material.11
The appointed censors were university faculty members from the relevant fields; texts on matters of religion were censored by the theology faculty, and secular texts – including scientific, historical and literary works – by the appropriate professor from the philosophy faculty. Texts on politics and economics were singled out for special attention; censorship in this domain was entrusted only to a select few government officials. In the censorship process, adjustments could be made in how a text or parts of a text were categorised. As Jakob Maliks has noted, significant shifts in categorisation occasionally occurred, revealing deep changes in world view and conceptions of truth.12 An important
Printed newspapers, introduced in Denmark-Norway during the first half of the seventeenth century, were considered ‘politicum negotium’, political texts.13 News publications – called ‘nye Relationer’ or ‘Aviser’ in Danish (terms covering both popular news pamphlets, which offered single ‘complete’ stories, and news sheets that presented shorter pieces of information from several places) – were, in the beginning, not considered important enough to merit censorship at the very highest level. In 1644, the censoring responsibility was given to a professor in history.14 With the advent of absolutism, however, this authority was at some point taken over by the government itself, probably by the Foreign Ministry (‘Det tydske Kancelli’).15
The special attention censors gave to news publications in the seventeenth century was first and foremost motivated by a need to keep them from publishing ‘implausible and false news’. This is clear from what happened after the outbreak of the war with Sweden in 1644, during which news sheets aired anxieties and rumours. Joachim Moltke and Melchior Martzan, who from 1634 held the privilege to print and sell news broadsheets as well as weekly newspapers in Danish and German, received several official complaints in the spring of 1644 for spreading misinformation. The result was that their publications, which the censors had previously handled lightly, suddenly needed manuscript approval before being printed.16 It was not so much the political status of the news that provoked this reaction as their trustworthiness.
‘Naked’ and Contextualised News in the Seventeenth Century
The privileges given to publishers during the latter part of the seventeenth century show that newspapers had by then become separated from popular broadsheets, permitting the publishers of newspapers to extract, copy, and
I do not make up the news myself, but communicate it unchanged as it is related to me, first by one, then by another [person], and present it to the public as a naked girl so that everybody can dress her the way he wishes and believe as much of it as he thinks fit.18
Yet Paulli (together with an Altona news reporter) was prosecuted after French complaints about anti-French biases in the reports.19 As Paul Ries has suggested, this was not due to any personalised, opinionated content, but might simply be explained by Paulli’s method of presentation.20 Rather than adopting the staccato style of simple reporting, as seen in Gøde’s Ordinarie Post-Tidende, for instance, Paulli’s newspaper used the traditional principle of rubrics headed by names of the countries covered in the reports they contained. In this way, he provided a more contextualised picture of events.
The first newspaper in Danish, Den danske Mercurius, published monthly from 1666 to 1677, provided ever more contextualised news overviews and summaries. It offered both national (about one third) and international news in versified form (modelled after the French La muze historique), written and edited by the poet Anders Bording, who had royal privilege and was paid by the king as a government official. Bording’s close relations with the new power elite may explain the surprisingly large amount of original, domestic news. Some of this was even quite controversial and politically sensitive, such as the account of the arrest in March 1676 of the ennobled Peder Schumacher Griffenfeld on
The 1701 Censorship Instruction
In January 1701, the king published an official censorship ‘rescript’ that put an end to the way Den danske Mercurius and other papers (such as Paulli’s Extraordinaires Maanedlige Relationer from 1673) provided monthly news summaries that combined news and commentaries. The rescript officially prohibited the blending of ‘news’, on the one hand – belonging to the realm of truth and impartiality and defined as ‘what is reported to have really taken place’ – with opinion or what is called ‘reasoning’ and ‘conjecture’ on the other.
The immediate context for the rescript was the outbreak in 1700 of the Great Northern War, which made international news reports – comprising the major part of the content of newspapers – particularly sensitive. There had already been several complaints from foreign powers on the content of Copenhagen newspapers, and the war required even closer control over the press. The official decree, aimed at censors and publishers equally, started by prescribing an extremely cumbersome censorship procedure explicitly targeting the publication of news.
Two crown-appointed censors (soon to be cut to one) from the Home Ministry (det danske Kancelli) were entrusted with the pre-publication censoring of newspapers (both manuscript and printed). The rescript required newspaper
The instructions were equally detailed concerning the material to be excluded: international news not reprinted from foreign newspapers; any remarks questioning the foundations or splendour of the realm or harmful to the interest of the king, ministers or officials; information about size or strength of the nation’s army or navy; details of negotiations with foreign powers and ‘sceptical, scornful or offensive’ remarks about foreign princes or their representatives. It is after this that we find the distinction between pure news and individual opinion:
Also to be excluded is the reasoning of the nouvellistes and others’ discourses on what is happening, and similarly unnecessary conjectures about what could possibly happen, and one must only deal with what is reported to really have taken place.
The rescript meticulously listed the type of content that could be included in newspapers: detailed and respectful descriptions of grand occasions, such as processions and feasts, to ensure that no fault could be found by others in the ceremonies of the Danish court; official announcements and royal proclamations; information about shipping and other forms of trade; and advertisements of important auctions or the loss of valuable property. The rescript required that all information must be written in plain language with appropriate vocabulary and published as soon as possible after the arrival of the post, except in the case of monthly newspapers, which were to carry only the most important and recent reports already published during the preceding month and nothing else.
Surely, these censorship procedures, if they were to be followed to the letter, did not enhance the frequency and regularity of the news press. The early circulation of printed news already suffered from irregularities caused by erratic postal services and political vicissitudes.22 In periods of war, there
The immediate motives behind the censorship instruction might well be the particularly sensitive context of the outbreak of war and the need to control public discussions about (international) politics. But the text also expresses quite clearly a more general anxiety concerning the ‘purity’ of the news and the truth value of its reports.
Truth Worries and News Frenzy
The epistemological worries following religious conflicts as well as the huge impact of the ‘new philosophy’ and the ‘scientific revolution’ have been well documented for decades by scholars of early modern intellectual history who see the heightened sense of urgency and self-consciousness regarding the contingency of truth claims as a defining feature of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century.24 Despite deep changes in evidentiary standards and practices in the period, a growing readership still expressed the problem of interpreting and trusting various truth claims, such as the information conveyed by so-called ‘true relations’ of different sorts (of fires, heavenly apparitions, women giving birth to animals, as well as of scientific experiments), as Frances E. Dolan has shown in her study of late-seventeenth-century England.25 The category of news did not escape these worries about reliability, as Andrew Pettegree has recognised in The Invention of News.26 With the expansion of the commercial news market and a larger and more dispersed audience hungry for news, a tide of criticism arose, questioning the trustworthiness and integrity of
The anxieties about news reporting and news reading that Dolan and Pettegree have described also apply to the Dano-Norwegian context. We have already seen how the censoring institutions worried about the publication of false news in the printed newspapers of late seventeenth-century Denmark-Norway. The most flamboyant expression of concern about the growing news-reading public is found in the very first comedy written for the Copenhagen stage in 1722 by the Norwegian-born playwright, historian and major intellectual of the period, Ludvig Holberg. The play, called Den politiske kandestøber (The political tinker), mocked and attacked the craze for news and current affairs among ordinary people. It was clearly inspired by the essays from The Tatler about the ‘political upholsterer’, a figure Steele describes as “the greatest newsmonger”, who was “much more inquisitive about what was happening in Poland than in his own family”.28 Like Steele’s ‘upholsterer’, Holberg’s ‘tinker’ is an honest man – one who happens to have become absorbed by politics. He spends most of his time passionately debating the latest news from southern Europe or local politics, while his family and business are neglected. He is a ‘project maker’ – a recurring negative characteristic in Holberg’s work (as we shall see later). The tinker frequents taverns, where he reads newspapers and exchanges opinions, “knowing everything, and yet nothing”, as Holberg himself points out in his introduction to the first published edition of the play. The knowledge these artisans and commoners in the taverns draw from the
Holberg’s satirical attack targeted not only the moral and levelling effects of the popular appetite for news and politics: an avid, news-craving, politically engaged sector of the society, in which artisans and other would-be politicians try to rise above their station and run society (threatening the natural and rational social hierarchy and the functioning of political culture defended by Holberg). He also directed his satire at the very production and transmission of news. How can we rely on what we read in the newspapers? How can we distinguish news stories (whether they are called ‘news’, ‘reports’, ‘true relations’, ‘correspondences’, ‘intelligences’, ‘information’ or avvisi) from other stories, fact from fiction, or opinion?29
As we have already seen, worries about the blending of news with more discursive, analytical and polemical opinion had already been expressed in the 1701 censorship instruction. The absolutist state of Denmark-Norway sought by law and cumbersome censorship procedures to protect unadorned fact in news reporting. As Stolpe and Ries have noted, when followed to the letter, the procedure drastically reduced the speed of the news delivery, which made ‘naked’ news less fresh. In reality, however, the instruction was not followed to the letter. There were actually long periods when the newspapers in Denmark-Norway did not undergo censorship prior to publication.30 This does not necessarily indicate that the regime had adopted a more liberal policy. During the first decades of the eighteenth century, only one printer in Copenhagen had the privilege to publish news in the entire twin kingdom, and there was always the threat of post-publication sanctions. The laws nonetheless served as a constant threat and proved to be an effective spur towards self-censorship. The absolutist regime seems, in fact, to have had only minor problems with
Press historians agree that the Copenhagen newspapers of the early eighteenth century were loyal and extremely panegyric towards king and court. The information they conveyed was also quite limited to life at court. Disasters, such as the outbreak of a plague in 1711 or the great fire of 1728 were only mentioned briefly.31 In delicate matters, such as the reporting of the death of Queen Louise and the king’s rapid marriage to Anna Sophie Reventlow in the same issue of Hoftidende (‘News from the court’) the editor solicited the chancellor (Gehejmeraad) in order to find the right words.32 What the licensed newspapers avoided reporting is perhaps the most telling; for instance, the public persecution on 8 March 1723 of the Trondheim-born civil servant and publicist Povel Juel, who was charged with conspiracy and high treason. This was undoubtedly an important and sensational event in Copenhagen, but since it concerned the state and its politics, the newspapers did not take any chances and no Copenhagen newspaper mentioned the event with so much as a single word. The affair, however, was richly described in a popular broadsheet ballad about ‘the dreaming prince project maker Povel Juel’.33 What was not allowed to appear as ‘news’ was published as a sensational, contextualised, entertaining story instead – which surely demonstrates that newspapers were not the only conveyers of important information to the public.
News, Announcements and Opinions
There are good reasons to contend that the 1701 censorship instruction contributed to the meagre content and prosaic but loyal style of the newspapers. It is also possible to argue that the instruction contributed to the shaping of the whole ‘media landscape’ of Denmark-Norway in the eighteenth century. One characteristic of this landscape is the increasing amount of announcements – advertisements for goods, notifications for objects lost and found – in the newspapers. The handful of serial news publications in German, French
The very first so-called newspapers published in the Norwegian realm of the twin kingdom were pure intelligencers (Intelligenz-Blätter in German) or ‘address newspapers’ as they were called in Norwegian, such as Norske Intelligenz-Seddeler in Christiania (1763), Efterretninger fra Adresse-Contoiret i Bergen i Norge (1763) and Kongelig allene privilegerede Tronhiem Adresse-Contoirs Efterretninger in Trondheim (1767), later to be known as ‘Adresseavisa’ (and still today the largest Trondheim newspaper).35 All of them followed the model of the Copenhagen Addressekontorets Efterretninger launched by Hans Holck in 1759.36 This kind of publication was usually connected to a public office for the exchange of information serving the local trade in goods and services. This phenomenon of a public ‘trading post’ had spread from France to other European countries during the seventeenth century (the Frenchman Théophile de Renaudot established the first ‘Bureau d’adresse’ in Paris in 1637). The editors of the Bergen and Trondheim ‘address newspapers’ had both obtained privileges for establishing address offices. The Christiania intelligencer, however, had circumvented privilege restrictions by not being connected to an office. Samuel Conrad Schwach’s printing shop, however, functioned effectively as a public trading post.37
All three Norwegian papers avoided strict censorship procedures by shunning the publication of political news. The motives behind these weekly publications were connected to trade, manufacturing and practical interests. The main bulk of material they published were advertisements, notifications of local sales and private services, announcements of property and persons lost and found, personal notices (engagements, marriages, births and obituary notices), announcements of public services and useful, religious essays as well as
From ‘news frenzy’ to ‘writing disease’
The intelligencers, however, were not the only medium for conveying and exchanging local knowledge, personal thoughts and opinions. After 1720, weekly or monthly journals appeared in rising numbers, starting with the learned journal Lærde efterretninger. Some of these journals were not only licensed, but were even encouraged by the state or edited by royal officials. The most prominent example of a journal the regime saw as useful for the state is the annual journal Danmark og Norges Oeconomiske Magazin (1757–1764). It was the result of a royal invitation in 1755 to people of all strata – “whoever he may be, high or low, aristocrat or not, clerical or not, learned or not; he will be most welcomed” – from every corner of the twin kingdom, to submit “theses of general use in economic and physical matters”. It welcomed contributions from periodicals and publications dealing with economic development.40 The
Not all journals, however, were initiated by the government. The extremely popular spectator journals, also called ‘moral weeklies’, characterised by having a fictitious narrator presenting essays on a variety of topics, appeared in Denmark-Norway from the 1740s. The genre thrived on the legal, political and epistemological distinction between news and opinion expressed in the 1701 rescript. As we have seen, concern about political news and the heavy restrictions around its publication were, by the middle of the century, supplemented by a controlled interest in public debate about practical, economic matters. But these concerns did not affect publications such as the spectator journals, which specialised exclusively in social observation, secular moral reasoning, philosophical discussion, and personal opinion. As long as the journals steered clear of reporting or commenting on news, and shunned any content that addressed political (or economic) matters directly, they obtained approbation (imprimatur) from the censors. The learned journals and the spectator journals alike were censored by the more liberal and independent professors among the philosophy faculty.
The relatively open-minded censoring of the ‘spectators’ appearing in Copenhagen during the 1740s makes a case for considering censorship in Denmark-Norway at the time as both ‘functionally ambiguous’ and also ‘productive’, rather than purely repressive. The learned and literary profile of moral weeklies such as Den danske Spectator (1744–1745) and La Spectatrice danoise (‘The female Danish spectator’, published in French in Copenhagen from 1748 to 1750), with a limited and non-popular readership, probably made them less problematic in the eyes of censor H.P. Anchersen, a professor of history and eloquence at Copenhagen University. These spectator journals were modelled on the English Spectator of Addison and Steele and their German, French and Swedish imitators. The English pioneers had famously mixed the publication of moral essays on ‘fixt and immutable’ themes with social observation and political news. Such a mix was not possible in the Dano-Norwegian context, where blending news with opinion was forbidden. But both of these journals were bold and experimental in their opinion-based content as well as in style, with their attention to important Enlightenment questions, such as religious liberty, social inequality, the legitimacy of the nobility, the role of women, education and freedom of the press. The authors used the moral weeklies as channels for a new drive to seek the truth by means of secular reasoning, and for their urge to write and communicate from a more modest station in society.43 By employing various fictional dialogical forms, they succeeded in creating something resembling a horizontal public sphere in miniature form. They served as forums in which multiple voices could engage in rationalist and sometimes quite critical debates on philosophical and moral as well as social and even political issues.44
We know that the censor Anchersen had required changes and revisions before their publication, which is clearly expressed by Jørgen Riis, the author of Den danske Spectator, who exclaimed that “My reflections would have been more useful had it not been necessary to disguise the truth”. In the very last issue of his journal he admits that “I have been forced to exclude a lot of important matters … and I have had to squeeze the juice out of them, just to reach the end of the year with my journal”.45 But the fact that this journal and also
The rise and growing success of this particular type of journalism in Denmark-Norway, conveying personal opinion and debate rather than news, did not, however, go unnoticed. Most of the journals like the two mentioned here were short-lived, but they served as a low-threshold medium for a young generation with a growing urge to write and publish their points of view and to become ‘authors’ in their own right. Several journalists of this kind started commenting on this urge, in their own journals, pointing to a ‘writing disease’ spreading in the twin kingdom, from Copenhagen to the more remote parts of Norway. In a 1761 issue of his journal Tronhiemske samlinger (‘The Trondheim collections’), Peter Frederik Suhm refers – through one of his fictitious characters – to “a goddamn writing disease spreading in this town”. A few years later, the phenomenon is registered also in Bergen and other Norwegian towns. In a 1794 issue of Den snaksomme Bergenser (‘The chattering citizen of Bergen’), the editor notes self-ironically that ‘To be a publicist and to write in public has in our days become an epidemic fever which is spreading quickly among the children of men’. Even people who hardly can read what they write, get to publish their ‘original madness’, he exclaimed in print.47
Yet, the first to link the new journalism to an epidemic illness (of the more serious and destructive kind) had been the elderly author and history professor Ludvig Holberg. Assessing the new opinion-based journalism developing during the 1740s from the outside, not to say from above, he despised it as much as he had loathed the craze for news decades earlier. Holberg had
In this matter, Holberg was not on history’s winning side. Journals like the ones initiated by Riis and La Beaumelle were to become the most important medium for the importation and dissemination of Enlightenment ideas and debates in Denmark-Norway during the latter part of the eighteenth century, slowly transforming the textual, intellectual as well as the political landscape of Denmark-Norway and culminating in the Norwegian liberal constitution of 1814. The newspapers were still singled out for special censorship procedures – even under the two-year regime of the royal physician Struensee, who, in the name of the mentally ill king, declared unrestrained freedom of the press in 1770.50 However, the journals of the late 1780s and 1790s, from central to distant towns of Denmark-Norway, were arenas for praise, humour and discussions about the French Revolution, freedom of speech, natural rights, ‘democracy’ and new constitutions. This lively public sphere of journals may explain how so many people, even peasants from the various Norwegian valleys, displayed a spontaneous urge to participate in the discussions about constitutional matters during the weeks before the signing of the Norwegian Constitution at Eidsvoll in May 1814.51
Journalism and The ‘Northern Enlightenment’
Recent research trends have revised previous notions of the Enlightenment as a unified, intellectually coherent set of ideas or practices originating in France and penetrating other parts of Europe or the world with varying degrees of success. Although it would be equally wrong-headed to evade any ‘diffusionist’ approach and view the Enlightenment as an intellectual phenomenon determined solely by national context, there is no doubt that ‘enlightenment’ ideals, visions and practices look different from a Dano-Norwegian perspective. I will conclude with the contention that the state-controlled media landscape of the eighteenth century, with its relatively poor news press but a bourgeoning public sphere of opinions which I have tried to describe in this chapter, can offer a useful vantage point for considering certain characteristics and general features of what we can call the ‘Northern Enlightenment’.
At a general level, the Northern Enlightenment is distinguished by Lutheranism, utilitarianism and support of absolutism rather than by anti-religious, democratic radicalism and universalism. It was definitely conservative and ‘mainstream’, in Jonathan Israel’s terms.52 Enlightenment discourse in Denmark-Norway was largely disseminated by intellectuals either employed by the absolutist state (clergy, university professors, state officials) or closely tied to state interests. These interests were, during the early eighteenth century, turning from warfare and security to development and welfare. Ideas of material and social growth for the common good were grounded in the economic paradigm of ‘cameralism’, being the German version of mercantilism which saw detailed state control of economic life as the core of development and public welfare. In its Dano-Norwegian adaptation, this also implied seeing scientific progress and the dissemination of practical and useful knowledge among the population as vital for the state’s economic performance. The result was that the new public sphere of print did not emerge from private, ‘bourgeois’ initiatives, as it did in other parts of Europe, but from the absolutist government actively promoting the development of ‘enlightenment’ through print.
State-serving publicists saw education and the rise in general knowledge as a means of achieving material and moral ‘perfection’ and common welfare. The apparently growing appetite for intellectual, religious, legal and social reform, for science and learning and for a flourishing public sphere of
For an analysis of the Scandinavian news press in the seventeenth century, see Paul Ries, ‘The Politics of Information in Seventeenth-Century Scandinavia’, in Brendan Dooley and Sabrina Baron (eds.), The Politics of Information in Early Modern Europe (London: Routledge, 2001), pp. 237–272.
The ‘Censur-Instrucs’ is reprinted in its entirety in P.M. Stolpe, Dagspressen i Danmark, dens Vilkaar og Personer indtil Midten af det attende Aarhundrede , 4 vols. (Copenhagen: 1878–1882), i, pp. 348–355.
Paragraph ii of Kongeloven 1665, here quoted from Lex Regia: or the royal law of Denmark. Writ in the Danish language by order of Frederick iii. Of Denmark, Norway, of the Goths and Vandals, etc. Subscribed by his Majesty on the 4th day of November 1665. Translated into English by a lover of the British constitution (London: 1731).
Charlotte Appel, Læsning og bogmarked i 1600-tallets Danmark, 2 vols. (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanums forlag, 2001).
See Loftur Guttormsson, ‘The Development of Popular Religious Literacy in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’, Scandinavian Journal of History, 15:1–2 (1990), pp. 7–35; Egil Johansson, The History of Literacy in Sweden in Comparison with Some Other Countries (Umeå: Umeå University and Umeå School of Education, 1977).
Jostein Fet, Lesande bønder. Litterær kultur i norske allmugesamfunn før 1840 (Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1995).
See Elisabeth L. Eisenstein, Divine Art, Infernal Machine: The Reception of Printing in the West from First Impressions to the Sense of an Ending (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011) for a general European overview of this duality.
See Michael Bregnsbo, ‘The Crisis and Renewal of the Monarchy: Introduction’, in Pasi Ihalainen et al.(eds.), Scandinavia in the Age of Revolution: Nordic Political Cultures, 1740–1820 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 17–28; Jakob Maliks, ‘To Rule is to Communicate. The Absolutist System of Political Communication in Denmark-Norway 1660–1750’, in Ellen Krefting, Aina Nøding and Mona Ringvej (eds.), Eighteenth-Century Periodicals as Agents of Change. Perspectives on Northern Enlightenment (Leiden: Brill, 2015), pp. 134–152.
The Dano-Norwegian expressions circulating in periodicals in the latter part of the eighteenth century were ‘Publikums Røst’, ‘Den offentlige Stemme’, ‘Den Almeene Røst’, ‘Folkets stemme’. See Martin Eide (ed.), Norsk presses historie i. En samfunnsmakt blir til 1660–1880 (Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 2010), p. 63.
The Norwegian Law of 1687 (equally valid for the Danish realm) was particularly detailed about the censorship procedures. See The Norwegian Law of 1687, Book 2, Chapter 20, article 1, ‘On books and almanachs’.
See Øystein Rian, Sensuren i Danmark-Norge: Vilkårene for offentlige ytringer 1536–1814 (Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 2014), especially Chapter 4, pp. 150–152.
Maliks, ‘To Rule is to Communicate’, pp. 136–137. The book in question was Johan Brunsmand, En liden, kort og enfolding Erklæring. Om noget Kiøge-Huus-Kaarsis Historie, angaaendis. Dennem til Behag, som elske Sandhed (Copenhagen: 1700).
According to a decision taken by the University of Copenhagen in July 1644. See Stolpe, Dagspressen i Danmark, i, pp. 130–131.
Den danske Mercurius 1666–1677, pp. 481–482, available at Arkiv for dansk literatur, www.adl.dk, http://adl.dk/adl_pub/pg/cv/ShowPgImg.xsql?p_udg_id=392&p_sidenr=13&hist=&nnoc=adl_pub.
The postal instruction of 1694 required postal delivery between Hamburg and Copenhagen twice a week. There were weekly deliveries to Norwegian cities. See Stolpe, Dagspressen i Danmark, ii, pp. 247–248.
See, for example, Paul Hazard, La crise de la conscience européenne, 1680–1715 (Paris: Fayard, 1961); Steven Shapin, A Social History of Truth. Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994).
Frances E. Dolan, True Relations: Reading, Literature, and Evidence in Seventeenth-Century England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013).
Andrew Pettegree, The Invention of News. How the World Came to Know about Itself (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2014).
‘Avis’ is today the Norwegian and Danish word for newspaper, but in Holberg’s work this was still the name of a specific piece of information about the contemporary world, either local or more geographically distant, often supported by written documentation of some kind or making reference to (living) eyewitnesses, to be assembled and printed in a ‘nyhedsblad’ or ‘relationer’. See the Holbergordbog (the ‘Holberg dictionary’) at http://holbergordbog.dk/.
Stolpe actually contends that no newspapers until 1738 were censored, and were published at the printer's own risk ((Dagspressen i Danmark, ii, p. 302). Yet, the censorship instructions were repeated unchanged in the Press rescript of 1756, when the police were appointed to conduct pre-publication censorship of newspapers. See also Øystein Rian, Sensuren i Danmark-Norge, pp. 172–173.
See Stolpe, Dagspressen i Danmark, ii, p. 280, and Ellen Krefting, Aina Nøding and Mona Ringvej, En pokkers skrivesyge. 1700-tallets dansk-norske tidsskrifter mellom sensur og ytringsfrihet (Oslo: Spartacus, 2014), pp. 53–55.
See Stolpe, Dagspressen i Danmark, ii, and Martin Eide (ed.), Norsk presses historie i, pp. 41–55.
There had been earlier attempts at publishing a Norwegian newspaper, such as Den Ridende Mercurius in Bergen in 1721, but they were all prohibited by the government in Copenhagen.
See Chr. Kirchhoff-Larsen, Den danske presses historie, 3 vols. (Copenhagen: Berlingske, 1942–1962), i, pp. 53–84.
See Aina Nøding, Vittige kameleoner: Litterære tekster i norske adresseaviser 1763–1769 (Oslo: Unipub, 2007), p. 25.
See Eide (ed.), Norsk presses historie i, pp. 107–123. In fact, the correspondence and debate had characterised this kind of news publication from its beginning in Paris in 1637. See Nøding, Vittige kameleoner, p. 25.
Erik Pontoppidan, Indbydelse til at insende almennyttige økonomiske og fysiske Afhandlinger til Grev A.G. Moltke. En Opfordring til at forene sig om Skribentvirksomhed (Copenhagen: 1755), p. 7. See Mona Ringvej, ‘Communicative Power and the Absolutist State. Denmark-Norway c. 1750–1800’, in Pasi Ihalainen et al. (eds.), Scandinavia in the Age of Revolution, pp. 303–316; Maliks, ‘To Rule is to Communicate’, pp. 144–146.
It was followed by a growing amount of topographical literature in Denmark-Norway with the continuing production of descriptions of local geography, natural resources, technology, history and folk culture. See Anne Eriksen, Topografenes verden: Fornminner og fortidsforståelse (Oslo: Pax, 2007).
Ellen Krefting, ‘The Urge to Write: Spectator Journalists Negotiating Freedom of the Press in Denmark-Norway’, in Krefting et al. (eds.), Eighteenth-Century Periodicals, pp. 153–171.
Jørgen Riis, the author of Den danske Spectator, actually published several spectator journals in parallel (Den danske Anti-Spectator, Den politiske Spectator) during 1744 and 1745, which commented upon each other, creating a fictitious exchange in print. See Krefting, ‘The Urge to Write’.
Robert Darnton, Censors at Work: How States Formed Literature (New York: W.W. Norton, 2014). On ‘productive censorship’ see also Matthew Bunn, ‘Reimagining Repression. New Censorship Theory and After’, History and Theory, 54 (2015), pp. 25–44.
‘At ville være offentlig Skribent og skrive offentlig, er i vore Dage blevet en epidemisk feber, som griber alt mer og mer om sig blant Menneskenes Børn’, Bernt Børretzen in Den snaksomme Bergenser, no. 41, 1794. See Krefting, Nøding and Ringvej, En pokkers skrivesyge.
Ludvig Holberg, ‘Fortale’, in Adskillige Heltinders og navnkundige Damers sammenlignende Historier efter Plutarchi Maade (Copenhagen, 1745). For Holberg’s comments on the spectators, see also essay number 280 of his Moralske tanker (Copenhagen, 1744), and epistles number 63, 72, 413 and 478 in Epistler (Copenhagen 1748–1754) both available at http://holbergskrifter.no.
See John Christian Laursen, ‘Censorship in the Nordic Countries ca. 1750–1890. Transformations in Law, Theory, and Practice’, Journal of Modern European History, 3 (2005), pp. 100–117.
See Jonathan Israel, ‘Northern Varieties. Contrasting the Dano-Norwegian and the Swedish-Finnish Enlightenments’, in Krefting et al. (eds.), Eighteenth-Century Periodicals, p. 17.
See Jens Schielderup Sneedorff, Den patriotiske tilskuer (Copenhagen, 1761–1763) and his treatise Om den Borgerlige Regiering (Copenhagen, 1757).