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Sensation – Propaganda – Resistance. 500 years of leaflets: from Luther to the present day

On the eve of the Reformation anniversary year of 2017, the German Museum of Books and Writing of the German National Library in Leipzig is staging an exhibition that, in contrast to the plethora of other Luther exhibitions, presents an off-beat view of the Reformation: the Reformation as a media and social history event, its media tools and their after-effects. The "Sensationalism – Propaganda – Resistance. 500 years of leaflets: from Luther to the present day" exhibition provides an overview of the history of the leaflet

Without the medium of the leaflet, Martin Luther's reformatory ideas would never have achieved the resonance which ultimately made him one of the most important protagonists of the modern era. The leaflet, which was made possible through the invention of moveable type printing, was the earliest mass medium which experienced its first boom through the "printing native" Martin Luther. Since the 16th century it has covered current issues and is now regarded as a catalyst for the establishment of publishing and the media.Trenchantly worded, the leaflet as a medium has never pulled its punches, and has provided much social dynamite over the centuries. The exhibition starts with the Luther year of 1517 and tells the story of the leaflet up to the present day, exploring in nine sections the social power of leaflets.

Be it early sensationalist messages about monsters and freaks, or "Leaflets on the religious controversy", "The world of flyers" in the 19th century, the leaflet caught between propaganda and resistance in the war, provocation and escalation in 1968, or flyers in the peaceful revolution of 1989: the leaflet has proved to be an agent of everyday resistance. "The techniques of rebellion" finally provides a glimpse into the technical workshops behind the leaflets.

Kindly supported by the city of Leipzig.

Photo tour

Papstesel und Mönchkalb

Lukas Cranach der Ältere, Illustration zu einer Flugschrift, Wittenberg 1523 (Abbildung: Deutsche Nationalbibliothek) Papstesel und MönchkalbLukas Cranach der Ältere, Illustration zu einer Flugschrift, Wittenberg 1523 (Abbildung: Deutsche Nationalbibliothek)

Last update: 24.07.2017

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