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The Publishing of a Murder Case in Early Modern Germany. The Limits of Censorship in the Electorate of Saxony (1726)

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The murder of a popular and high-ranking Lutheran cleric in May 1726 in the residential city of the Electorate of Saxony, Dresden, by a Catholic foreigner triggered both urban turmoil and a process of intense media recycling. This article is concerned not so much with the murder case in detail but with the ‘publishing of the murder case’ by the lively local and regional print industries. It will be argued that these publishing processes were moments of economically driven media recycling that had effects on the censorship regime. Analyzing the contemporary perception of circulating prints by the Saxon authorities shows clearly a very low level of censorship activity. When connecting the bits of evidence, it seems evident that the inactivity must have been caused by more than just the usual level of administrational incompetence: the relevant Saxon authorities were Lutheran officials working for a Catholic King, and they chose inactivity deliberately.

Affiliations: 1: University of Erlangen-NürnbergGermany


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