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German History in Documents and Images
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The Latest News (1779)
The production of books, newspapers, and journals rose substantially in the German lands in the late eighteenth century. The rise was attributable to a variety of factors, not least the spread of basic literacy during the Enlightenment. The image below attests to the development of a growing, interested readership. But it also speaks to the gendered nature of reading. It is the men who are huddled around the newspaper, presumably engaged in a lively (or even heated) debate about the information contained therein. The women appear to be engaged in a less contentious discussion in the background. Undated copperplate engraving by Friedrich Christian Geyser (1772-1846) after a 1779 drawing by Daniel Chodowiecki (1726-1801).