Already the author of several journals including the first spectator in French (Le Misanthrope), Justus van Effen attempted to capture the Regency spirit in France with La Bagatelle. Produced as a twice-weekly quarter sheet, La Bagatelle included witty observations on contemporary society, literary controversies, bolder, more subversive reflections on questions of religion, as well as short works of poetry and prose. In this first critical edition of La Bagetelle James L. Schorr uncovers the sources of each periodical essay, and situates Van Effen’s ironic commentaries in their social and cultural context.
Tracing the influence of classical as well as contemporary English writers, Schorr also explores an evolution in the character of the Bagatelliste himself, from the seventeenth-century ‘man of science’ to the philosophe of the Enlightenment. Containing substantive textual commentary and variants from the 1718-19 and 1722-24 issues, Schorr’s critical edition represents a major addition to our knowledge of early eighteenth-century French journalism and the intellectual climate in which it flourished.
Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, November 2014
ISBN 9780729411493, 352 pages, £65Edited by James L. Schorr (ed.), ‘La Bagatelle’ (1718-1719): a critical edition of Justus van Effen’s journal
Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment