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The Early Modern City as a Resonating Box: Media, Public Opinion, and the Urban Space of the Holy Roman Empire, Cologne, and Hamburg ca. 1700*

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Abstract The article analyzes the media logic of urban acts of communication in early modern German cities. As is demonstrated by Cologne and Hamburg in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the growing use of print (particularly pamphlets) moved local conflict away from face-to-face confrontation into progressively more multifaceted modes of communication, increasingly expressed in both manuscript and print. In highlighting the mediality of early modern urban culture, the changing relationship between the urban community, public opinion, and forms of communication is addressed. The resulting effect from the interplay and complementation of oral, written, and printed means of communication is described as echoes that formed an urban resonating box—a constant polyphonic state including both the literate and illiterate.

Affiliations: 1: University of Erfurt

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