ARTICLE ALERT: Forbidden Print and Urban Political Culture in Central Europe, 1800–1850

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Brophy, James M. Bookshops, Forbidden Print and Urban Political Culture in Central Europe, 1800–1850. German History. Volume 35, Issue 3, 2017. Pp. 403-430.

To understand how German and Austrian readers gained access to forbidden literature during the Restoration and Vormärz periods, one must enter the world of bookshops. Publishers and book merchants, this essay argues, completed the print circuit of forbidden political knowledge. They possessed numerous ways to circumvent the censorship regimes of central Europe. Networks of publishers, printers, book dealers and their agents provided clandestine channels through which they smuggled books from abroad and circulated banned domestic literature. Because bookshop owners enabled the hand-to-hand transfer of contraband material, their role in developing an oppositional political culture was crucial. They made possible transnational communication networks by providing urban spaces where a socially diverse readership contested censorship and reshaped civic identities.