Fashioning ‘Belgian’ Literature and Cultural Mediatorship in the Journal littéraire et politique des Pays-Bas autrichiens (1786)

  • Beatrijs Vanacker (KU Leuven)
  • Charlotte van Hooijdonk (KULeuven)
  • Vanessa Van Puyvelde (KU Leuven)
  • Tom Verschaffel (KU Leuven)


The present study re-examines the underexplored region of the eighteenth-century Southern Netherlands as a multilingual contact zone, one that is open to and affected by numerous transfers from neighbouring, more established cultures through the mediation of various actors. Embedded in a larger project on (literary) journals and their role in the shaping of a proto-Belgian literature before 1830, this article presents the case study of a short-lived Brussels periodical, founded by the French émigré Jean-Baptiste Lesbroussart (1747–1818). With his Journal littéraire et politique des Pays-Bas autrichiens (1786), Lesbroussart created a literary journal that presented itself as fundamentally reader-oriented. By taking into consideration Lesbroussart’s agency as a cultural mediator, we lay bare three levels of mediation informing his Journal: (1) his institutional mediatorship, or the entanglement of the networks in which he was involved, his intended readership, and the didactic goals of his journal; (2) his aesthetic and ideological mediatorship, meaning the structure and composition of his journal as well as the editorial strategies revealing a reader-oriented strategy; and (3) his cultural mediatorship, or his self-defined role as translator and the emphasis he puts on transfer and translation as means of cultural identity construction. By doing so, our case-study provides a first stepping-stone towards a more encompassing study, and thus it enables new insights into the circulation, production, and networks of eighteenth-century literary culture in the Southern Netherlands.

Keywords: journal, eighteenth century, cultural mediator, poetics, networks

How to Cite:

Vanacker, B., van Hooijdonk, C., Van Puyvelde, V. & Verschaffel, T., (2023) “Fashioning ‘Belgian’ Literature and Cultural Mediatorship in the Journal littéraire et politique des Pays-Bas autrichiens (1786)”, Journal of European Periodical Studies 7(2), 130–146. doi:

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Published on
08 Feb 2023
Peer Reviewed