The Magazine and the Miscellany. Expansion and Compression in the Periodical Press


07/07 – 08/07/2022

The Magazine and the Miscellany. Expansion and Compression in the Periodical Press

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Hauptgebäude | Raum 2249a | Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin

Workshop of the Research Training Group The Literary and Epistemic History of Small Forms

Workshop-Programm als PDF



Thursday, July 7, 2022

9:30-9:45             Welcome and Introduction

9:45-11:30            Forms of the Miscellany. Reading session with Clare Pettitt (London) based on material from her books Serial Forms (2021) and Serial Revolutions (2022)

11:30-12:00               Coffee break

12:00-12:45          Sean Franzel (Columbia): “Small Print Luxury”: Neo-Classicism and Commodity Culture in the Journal des Luxus und der Moden

12:45-14:15               Lunch break

14:15-15:00          Lara Helder (Berlin): “Under the Eyes of the Public”: Friedrich Schiller’s Episodical Writing and Publishing Practices in the (Rheinische) Thalia

15:00-15:45          Angela Esterhammer (Toronto): The Spirit, Materiality, and Reading Experience of the Public Journals in the 1820s

15:45-16:15               Coffee break

16:15-17:00          Mark Turner (London): Miscellaneity and Extraction in the 19th Century Magazine

17:00-17:45          Lisa Bolz (Paris): Telegraphy and Telegrams in Newspapers and Magazines of the 19th Century


Friday, July 8, 2022

9:30-10:15            Josephine McDonagh (Chicago): Bilingual Magazines in the Context of Migration:  Transport, Translation, Time

10:15-11:00          Madeline Zehnder (Berlin): Experiments with Scale in William Wilson’s „Afric-American Picture Gallery“ (1859) and the Anglo-African Magazine

11:00-11:30               Coffee break

11:30-12:15          Daniela Gretz (Bochum): Between ,Salon‘ and ,Feuilleton‘. The Compression of Small Forms into Grand Forms in Various Formats of Über Land und Meer (Across Land and Sea)

12:15-13:45               Lunch break

13:45-14:30          Anna-Maria Post (Konstanz): Cultural Poetics of Verdichtung. Berthold Auerbach’s Volkskalender and Moritz Lazarus’s Völkerpsychologie

14:30-15:15          Moritz Neuffer (Berlin): The Movement and the Model. Forms of Compression in Theory Journals



A loanword from Arabic, “magazine” in the 18th century still primarily denoted “A place where goods are kept in store; a storehouse for goods or merchandise; a warehouse or depot” (OED), similarly in German, “Ort, wo ein Vorrath an Waaren, Lebens=Mitteln oder Kriegs=Munition verwahret wird” (Zedlers Univeral-Lexikon, 1739). Only gradually did the term with its spatial connotation of a place of storage come to be used for periodicals. The first such periodical was the English Gentleman’s Magazine, founded in London in 1731. With its broad range of articles, it was directed towards a nonspecific readership and offered something interesting or worth reading for every reader.

In the following decades, such magazines came to represent a specific type of journalism: to a greater extent than the daily papers, its hallmark was variety and openness as well as an unruly mixture of heterogeneous components (Franzel 2018). At the same time, its publishers strove to set themselves apart from the growing competition by a recognizable method of blending topics. “Miscellaneity became generic, but generic miscellaneity took different forms and formats” (Turner 2020). Its important structuring element is periodicity itself: Subjecting the magazines to a continuous rhythm, the regularity of the serial was used for the administration and aesthetic organization of the diversity of topics (Stockinger 2018, Pettitt 2020); at the same time, the subsequent binding of individual issues into volume format was already intended.

Taking off with cases taken from the 18th and 19th centuries, our workshop seeks to explore the associated forms and practices of compression as they were employed by magazines for the purposes of the expansion of their capacities, of presenting as much miscellaneous content as possible within their limited space. The contributions address scientific and literary periodicals as well as popular magazines and especially dwell on the following aspects.


[1] Reduction of Distance. With titles such as Revue des deux mondes or later Über Land und Meer (Across Land and Sea), the programmatic agenda of such magazines comes to the fore: they sought to offer a global scale for their choice of items worth knowing about. This corresponds to a style of collecting copied from the cabinets of curiosities and wonder-rooms. Other German-language magazines in the 18th century choose the title of “Museum” (Franzel 2019), and they aim at the exotic, remote and foreign as novelties (Graevenitz 1993). Compilation, the co-presence of the remote in the narrowest space of one single      issue, might be seen as a mirror image of the proximity generated by the new infrastructures of world traffic. On the other hand, it might also highlight that entire worlds lie between regions and milieus that in actual fact sit close together. We therefore seek to examine compression as an effect of juxtaposition enforced by the limited space of a magazine issue. We want to investigate to what extent miscellaneous pieces on a page contextualize each other and exhibit consequences of social, technological and political transformations.

[2] Aesthetic Economies of Compression. The seriality of publication requires a specific editorial management of attention. Whether a reader will remain loyal to a magazine depends less on the particular radiance of particular contributions than on the appeal of the mélange. At the same time, this affects the visual diversity of the page space. Heterogeneity needs to be presented in such a way that it can be enjoyed in its variety, as most readers will not actually read items but merely browse through the magazine. “Miscellaneity requires one to select, anthologize, extract, and sample, but in the service of breadth and multiplicity rather than singularity” (Turner 2020). Thus, what needs to be examined are the practices of internal formatting of the magazines: branding via formats and uniformity of layout, the establishment of recurring sections through use of typography and arabesque ornaments, the interaction between text and illustration, the use of images, maps, and diagrams to produce an overview through the reduction of scale, the effects of condensation but also the limitation of visual supplements to a single wood engraving in popular magazines (Pettitt 2020).


[3] Kleine Formen. Small Forms. With regard to literature, magazines have significantly contributed to the rise of a type of prose that reached its first readership in the form of continuous instalments. This holds true in particular for the 19th century novella in Germany. However, despite the commercial alliance with the medium of the magazine, the book form remained crucial to authors. From the outset, the initial publication in a periodical was planned as an advance publication, guaranteeing that the novella form could model itself on “established genre repertoires” (Graevenitz 1993). Novels, in turn, which entrusted themselves more willingly to the affordances of the serial format, risked the loss of cohesion and undue proliferation in the face of the immanent interminability of the series. This result certainly might be called “narrative grand form” but not “grand narrative” (Niehaus 2018).

In contrast, the serial format allowed small forms to exhibit their unconventional nature. This might explain the great significance of the “little magazine” (Bulson 2017) especially for the avantgardes, which cultivated such small forms in order to satisfy the ‘Zeitgeist’ with brevity. Hence, the workshop will also explore small genres promoted by such magazines and the concise writing styles they cultivated in order to condensate modernity and mobility iconically.


Workshop Format

The workshop’s topic is inspired by Clare Pettitt’s most recent book, Serial Forms: The Unfinished Project of Modernity 1815–1848 (Oxford: UP 2020). Pettitt will join our Research Training Group »The Literary and Epistemic History of Small Forms« as a Mercator Fellow during the spring term of 2022 (prospective dates of her stay: June 13, 2022 through July 19, 2022). The workshop will begin with a discussion on selected parts of Pettitt’s book and then proceed with presentations by the other participants on relevant primary source materials of their choice (no longer than 20–25 min).



Eric Bulson, Little Magazine, World Form, New York 2017.

Angela Esterhammer, John Thelwall’s Panoramic Miscellany. The Lecturer as Journalist, in Romantic Circles, edited by Yasmin Solomonescu, 2011. 19 Paragraphs. 21 October 2017 <http://www.rc.umd .edu/praxis/thelwall/HTML/praxis.2011.esterhammer.html

Sean Franzel, Metaphors of Spatial Storage in Enlightenment Historiography and the Eighteenth-Century „Magazine“, in: The Radical Enlightenment in Germany: A Cultural Perspective, ed. Carl Niekerk, Amsterdam 2018, 328–352.

Gerhart von Graevenitz, Memoria und Realismus. Erzählende Literatur in der deutschen „Bildungspresse“ des 19. Jahrhunderts, in:: Memoria. Vergessen und Erinnern, hg. von Anselm Haverkamp und Renate Lachmann unter Mitwirkung von Reinhart Herzog München 1993, 283–304.

Manuela Günter, Im Vorhof der Kunst. Mediengeschichten der Literatur im 19. Jahrhundert, Bielefeld 2008-

Meredith McGill, Format, in: Early American Studies. An Interdisciplinary Journal 16:4 (Fall 2018), 671–677.

Meyer, Reinhart, Novelle und Journal, Bd. 1: Titel und Normen. Untersuchungen zur Terminologie der Journalprosa, zu ihren Tendenzen, Verhältnissen und Bedingungen, Stuttgart 1987.

Michael Niehaus, Was ist ein Format?, Hannover 2018.

Mark Parker, Literary Magazines and British Romanticism, Cambridge 2004.

Clare Pettitt, Serial Forms. The Unfinished Project of Modernity 1815–1848, Oxford 2020.

Claudia Stockinger, An den Ursprüngen populärer Serialität. Das Familienblatt „Die Gartenlaube“, Göttingen 2018.

Mark W. Turner, Seriality, Miscellaneity, and Compression in Nineteenth-Century Print, in: Victorian Studies 62:2 (Spring 2020), 283–294.

Mark W. Turner, The Unruliness of Serials in the Nineteenth Century (and in the Digital Age), in: Serialization in Popular Culture, ed. by Rob Allen and Thijs van den Berg, London 2014, 11–32.

Zwischen Literatur und Journalistik. Generische Formen in Periodika des 18. bis 21. Jahrhunderts, hg. von Gunhild Berg, Magdalena Gronau und Michael Pilz, Heidelberg 2016.

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