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02 - Publicité, quelle histoire ?

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Gilles Feyel

The readers of Renaudot’s Gazette : the state secrecy and public voices in the 1630s

Le Temps des médias n°2, printemps 2004, p.163-175

Given that medieval historians highlight the expression of a genuine public opinion during the Valois monarchy, should we continue to refuse its existence in the 1630s? In the early 17 century, the “mysteries of the State” did not go without question; contemporaries discussed “current affairs”, even if it was unadvisable to do so in public. Following the religious wars of the 16 century, the State occupied the centre-stage and forbad any kind of political debate; however it left “individuals” free to judge matters as they saw fit in their home, study or library. This distribution of roles has been little explored, to judge from the literary polemic of the Cid, when individuals invaded the public sphere, called upon as a sounding-board. The father of French journalism T. Renaudot, in his prefaces, shows that he perfectly grasped different dimensions of the public and private spheres. The Gazette, as part of the public sphere, was read both in this, as in the private, sphere. The Gazette aimed at a reader capable of “judgements” and of “attributing blame”; he made critical appreciations of the journalist’s work and of the actions of kings and princes. This range and diversity of individual judgements together helped in the development of a “public voice”, of a “common opinion”. DrapeauFrancais

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