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September 2, 2009

The Age of the Feuilletons

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"We must confess
that we cannot provide an unequivocal definition of those products from which the age takes its name, the feuilletons. They seem to have formed an uncommonly popular section of the daily newspapers, were produced by the millions, and were a major source of mental pabulum for the reader in want of culture. The reported on, or rather ‘chatted’ about, a thousand-and-one items of knowledge. It would seem, moreover, that the cleverer among the writers of them poked fun at their own work. Ziegenhalss, at any rate, contends that many such pieces are so incomprehensible that they can only be viewed as self-persiflage on the part of the authors. Quite possibly these manufactures articles do indeed contain a quantity of irony and self-mockery which cannot be understood until the key is found again. The producers of these trivia were in some cases attached to the staffs of the newspapers; in other cases they were free-lance scriveners. Frequently they enjoyed the high-sounding title of ‘writer’, but a great many of them seem to have belonged to the scholar class. Quite a few were celebrated university professors." -- Herman Hesse, The Glass Bead Game

Posted by Vanderleun at September 2, 2009 10:29 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

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