Media Interface, Romanticism, and Modernity: Some Examples from Eighteenth Century France

By Paul John Lippert.

Published by Journal of Technologies in Society

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Much contemporary cultural criticism centers on the issue of our relation to modernity. This makes it important to understand clearly what modernity consists of, how it came to be, and what is necessary for its continuation. Controversy and confusion surrounds the question of modernity’s relation to the classicism and single-system thinking of the Enlightenment and to the romanticism and more heterodox thinking of the later revolutionary age. Recent scholarship about novel media uses in eighteenth century France suggests that various resurgences of orality through interfaces with literate systems of thought were influential in the formation of a new, more modern sensibility. This influence was prone to various distortions and was ultimately repressed under the Empire, the restored monarchy, and with the growth of commercial popular culture during the nineteenth century. Nonetheless, these media, the communication practices that they facilitated, and the sensibilities that these practices nurtured constitute illustrative examples of the revolutionary beginnings of phenomena associated with popular culture, public opinion, political mythology, the junction of politics and entertainment, and the wide range of cultural traits which have come to be described as “secondary orality” during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Keywords: Media Interface, Romanticism, Modernity

Journal of Technologies in Society, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp.13-21. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 247.472KB).

Dr. Paul John Lippert

Professor of Communication Studies, Department of Communication Studies, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, USA