Megativity and Miniaturization at the Frankfurt Book Fair



Driscoll B & Squires C (2020) Megativity and Miniaturization at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Post45, Contemporaries.

First paragraph: The Frankfurt Book Fair, or in its native German, the Frankfurter Buchmesse, restarted in the aftermath of the Second World War as a symbol of post-war reconstruction, an engine of book industry capitalism, and a celebration of bookish cosmopolitanism. But by the late 1960s, it had become a contested site, encountering the revolutionary fervor of the period. In 1967, publishers had joined students in signing an anti-conglomerate declaration against the publisher Springer (which owned the tabloid newspaper Bild) on the grounds that too much power in one media group was dangerous. In 1968, the organizers of the Buchmesse anticipated further trouble, particularly after the uprisings of the Prague Spring. "House rules" ("Hausordnung") were introduced, allowing the organizers to close the Fair to the public if the peace ("Messefrieden") was threatened, and requiring events (including receptions, press conferences, and musical performances) to have written approval. Police were brought into the Fair and placed on standby with water cannons; the Fair was informally dubbed the "Polizeimesse" ("police Fair"). The route to an event celebrating the publication of a book by the German finance minister was blocked by protestors, with the latter making fun of the demand to let police through with the words "Macht aus Polizisten gute Sozialisten" ("turn policemen into good socialists"). Some publishers reacted angrily to the Fair's authoritarianism, and threatened to stay away the following year if the "Herr im Haus" ("King of the Castle") approach from the Buchmesse continued.

Post45: Volume Contemporaries

Publication date08/04/2020
Publication date online08/04/2020
Date accepted by journal01/04/2020
Publisher URL…kfurt-book-fair/

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Professor Claire Squires

Professor Claire Squires

Professor in Publishing Studies, English Studies