Workshop “Magazine Culture(s) and Reader Engagement”

Literature comes in different shapes and sizes – and in the form of different media. The great importance of periodicals and illustrated magazines as media of literature has yet long been overlooked.

This 1-day workshop is aimed at researchers interested in questions of materiality and mediality of literature in general and reader engagement in magazine cultures from the 18th century and beyond in particular. The event includes a public lecture at the National Library by Prof. Gustav Frank (LMU Munich), expert on periodical studies and visual culture, who will join us in the workshop. We particularly invite postdoctoral researchers and PhD candidates to participate, share their ideas and research questions and profit from the international networking opportunity.

Please see here for the detailed program and abstracts.

Why are we Interested in Periodicals?

Periodicals are agents of change – and the specific compositional, material, and social practices that shape and result from their production, distribution, and reception are manifestations of the inseparable interrelationship of media and ideas. Looking into the perspectival and semiotic complexity of periodicals and how the multiple voices of magazines work helps us to understand more about the ways in which literary media address and involve their readers.

Materiality and Mediality

As material and multimodal media that combine different semiotic modes or resources, periodicals have multifaceted and complex means to engage their readers not just on an intellectual level, but also in their roles as onlookers and inter-actors with a magazine. The multimodality of illustrated periodicals, though, does not only refer to the eponymous presence of illustrations and images, respectively the general foregrounding of visuality in periodical print media since the 19th century. It also extends to the haptic experience a reader might have when browsing a magazine, turning its pages and experiencing the sensory effects of specific formats, paper qualities and textures. Against this backdrop, the workshop explores questions of materiality and mediality of literature in general and reader engagement in magazine cultures from the 18th century and beyond in particular. With respect to a diachronic perspective, shedding more light on historical print cultures not least contributes to our understanding of more recent phenomena and shifts in media culture(s) strategies of reader engagement since the digital age.

Public Lecture at the National Library

Guest lecturer: Prof. Gustav Frank (LMU Munich)

The specific features of printed mass media -- such as seriality and the interplay of text and image -- have had great impact on literary genre development and also on preferences of readers. This is not least true with regard to the novel and its current perception as prototypical manifestation of literature. The public lecture on periodicals and literature accordingly sheds light on how they historically shaped and responded to each other. By introducing the field of periodical studies to a broader audience the lecture also shows why 'literature' does not simply equal 'books'.

Tags: Literature, Periodical Studies, Visual Culture, Materiality, Media History
Published Dec. 13, 2018 3:08 PM - Last modified Mar. 25, 2019 9:45 PM