The „Wienerisches Diarium“. Press, State and Enlightenment in eighteenth-century Vienna

Tuesday 1st November 2016, Senior Parlour, Gonville and Caius College, 5-6pm

Professor Andreas Gestrich (German Historical Institute London)

Supported by the DAAD Cambridge Research Hub with funds from the German Federal Foreign Office (FFO)

The “Wienerisches Diarium”, founded in 1703 and renamed Wiener Zeitung in 1780, claims to be the longest running newspaper in the world. After it was taken over by the van Ghelen family in 1722 it enjoyed a close relationship with the court. The “Diarium” not only became  the court’s official newspaper and acted as “Intelligenzblatt”, but also seems to have been granted privileged access to international news. This closeness to the court and to the central government entailed, on the one hand, quite tight control of the paper’s contents. On the other hand, the wealth of first-hand information available to the editor also opened up some interesting possibilities to reflect indirectly on domestic as well as international politics. This paper looks at the “Diarium’s” reporting and will examine the extent to which it was part of an enlightened public discourse on issues of politics and socio-economic improvement.

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