AR - Media

Mediengeschichte: vom asiatischen Buchdruck zum Fernsehen [Media History: From Asiatic Book Printing to Television]. Frank Bösch. Frankfurt am Main: Campus-Verlag, 2011. 268 p. 21 cm. (Historische Einführungen, 10). ISBN 978-3-593-39379-7: EUR 18.90 [12-1]

Bösch’s work bases itself on the premise that media have for centuries influenced perceptions, knowledge, politics, and culture as much as leisure time and everyday communication, and that the history of media has meant different things for the social/communications sciences and cultural/media sciences. Most of the book’s space is devoted to the last 500 years, while the technology of computers and the internet are brought into the discussion only within the concluding assessment. Overall the author succeeds in his succinct treatment of the historical emergence and significance of new media, focusing mainly on Germany. His work is an excellent introduction to an exciting but still incompletely researched field of study. [hb/rlk]

Scharf überwachte Kommunikation: Zensursysteme in Ost(mittel)europa, 1960er- 1980er Jahre [Closely Watched Communications: Systems of Censorship in East (Central) Europe, 1960s-1980s]. Ed. Ivo Bock. Berlin: Lit, 2011. 480 p. 24 cm. (Das andere Osteuropa, 1). ISBN 978-3-643-11181-4: EUR 49.90 [12-2]

Three countries are studied: Czechslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, and Poland. The focus is on what was officially viewed as provocative deviations from the party line within the communist states, and how they were dealt with. Thanks to a detailed table of contents (with several pages of bibliographical references), the work can serve as a reference resource to a dark chapter of totalitarianism. Through the assessment of documents of the period the authors reveal the process of censorial decision-making and its variability and reception by authors and publishers, making for a valuable contribution to the cultural history of the period. The editor states in the preface that the present volume is planned as the first of four in a series called Das andere Europa [The Other Europe] which intends to portray dissent in politics and society and the alternatives in the culture of the 1960s-1980s. Because of its thorough evaluation of relevant sources, this first publication represents a successful beginning. [ks/rlk]

Zeitungen vor der Zeitung: die Fuggerzeitungen (1568-1605) und das frühmoderne Nachrichtensystem [Newspapers Before the Newspaper: Fugger Newspapers (1568-1605) and the Early Modern News System]. Oswald Bauer. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 2011. 436 p. ill. 24 cm. (Colloquia Augustana, 28). ISBN 978-3-05-005158-1: EUR 89.80 [12-1]

Although recent scholarship has focused on the exchange of news in Early Modern Europe and specifically on hand-written newspapers, no publication has yet provided a systematic analysis of the content of the Fugger newspapers, the handwritten newspapers of the brothers Octavian Secundus Fugger and Philipp Edward Fugger published between 1568 and 1605. This volume (the author’s doctoral 2009 dissertation from Augsburg University) takes a step forward in showing how content extended beyond commercial correspondence and reports. The contents of the collection of Fugger newspapers held in Vienna were classified into a number of subject categories. For example, Bauer found that 51 percent of the reports dealt with war and violence, 25 percent with politics, six percent society, four percent with legal matters, three percent with religion, and six percent with economics. The author notes that the new medium of hand-written newspapers in the 16th century started in Italy and spread across Europe, creating a pan-European news system. In order to examine this huge collection of Fugger newspapers, Bauer focused first and foremost on the significance, use, and dissemination of current news of the time.

Excluding advertisements, the Fugger newspapers had all the characteristics of later printed newspapers. The content of these newspapers was not of high value compared to other hand-written newspaper collections of the time. However, Fugger newspapers were exceptional in that they continued for such a long period. From this standpoint, they provide an excellent source for examining European news in the 16th century. [hb/bwv]

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