What is Popular? Studies on the Press in Interwar Europe: Popular Print as Historical Artefact

  • Gioula Koutsopanagou

Abstract

The notion of 'popular' as a determinant in the study of the interwar periodical press lies at the centre of this special issue. The question posed in its title places the subject matter in a specific historical timeframe and context but also addresses a universal cultural publishing phenomenon, that of the popular press, as it is seen and analyzed by scholars from different countries in Europe and beyond. Popular periodicals were widely published across the globe in vernacular languages that were freighted with region-specific but often contested cultural meanings. Whilst retaining distinctive national features, however, they also incorporated many common elements that were freely transferred across national borders and between languages, particularly in relation to their aesthetic appearance, subject themes, and format and writing styles. The current growth of interest in the comparative study of this hitherto neglected category of the ‘popular’ thus further enriches a literature which has, to date, remained markedly Anglophone in its orientation. Finally, by juxtaposing the specific approaches adopted by the contributors to this special issue, the guest editors, Fabio Guidali and Gioula Koutsopanagou, seek to start a wider conversation about the value of historical perspectives and methodologies in strengthening the collaborative work of the Journal of European Periodical Studies and of the activities of the European Society for Periodical Research (ESPRit) more generally. In that sense, this issue is offered as an example of the ways in which international collaboration by historians may contribute to the growing field of periodical studies.

Published
2020-06-30