The unstable Almanac : Transformations of the Almanac in Denmark in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
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AbstractPrinted almanacs in the Danish language are preserved from the sixteenth century. The production of almanacs increased from the 1570’s just as that of news sheets, pamphlets, and chapbook stories. From the beginning the almanac covered a sheet of paper consisting of 16 leaves, or 32 pages. As a supplement, four or eight leaves of paper contained the Practica Astroligica. This form – 40 or 48 pages in sedecimo – characterised the almanac in Denmark from the sixteenth century to the technological changes in the production of paper occurred together with the introduction of the power press in the 1830s. The astrological cosmology in the almanacs was gradually substituted by the time of the church and the power of the state. Four major transformations of the almanac in Denmark are discussed: the astrological almanac, the almanac of the university, the economic almanac and the almanac of civic society. From 1636 the University of Copenhagen received the privilege and the duty to produce the almanac in cooperation with a Royal privileged printing house in Copenhagen. As a consequence all other almanacs subsequently became illegal. In the decades before the introduction of the absolute monarchy in Denmark in 1660 the official privileged almanac became a medium for secular time and the chronology of the Kings. The history of the kings of Denmark was set out as Annals and timetables in the almanac, which thereby contributed to the King's propaganda in the 1630 s and 1640 s. State reforms of post routes, weights, and other practical information, found their way into the almanacs few pages together with the Church's psalms and prayers. The Church was driven out of the almanac by economic topics, when from 1782 housekeeping received a place in the almanac on the initiative of the Royal Society for the improvement of Agriculture. The little publication was among the first tools for the spread of reform ideas outside of the aristocracy and the civil servants. Finally from the 1840 s new almanacs and calendars became tools for the national and liberal movements, which contributed to the fall of the absolute monarchy in 1848. In the chapter I concentrate on the transformation of the almanacs from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century as a medium for enlighten¬ment and politics in new texts and woodcuts.