Sanning och lydnad

Carl Christoffer Gjörwell som gustaviansk propagandist

  • Mathias Persson Uppsala universitet
Nyckelord: Carl Christoffer Gjörwell, King Gustav III, propaganda, media


The publicist Carl Christoffer Gjörwell (1731–1811) was an important figure in the Swedish eighteenth-century public sphere. Besides collecting and disseminating news, he served as a propagandist for first the ruling Hat Party, then King Gustav III (1746–1792). This article highlights Gjörwell’s double function as publicist and propagandist by investigating how he represented Gustav III at the beginning and at the end of the ever-more autocratic monarch’s reign; more specifically, the renderings of Gustav’s coup d’état (1772) and the war against Russia (1788–1790). On a more general level, the analysis explores an oft-neglected facet of the early modern public sphere, namely the presence of the powers that be in the expansive media landscape. In so doing, the study contributes to the ongoing revision of Jürgen Habermas’ thesis about an autonomous and oppositional public sphere, which has rightfully been criticised for not recognizing the substantial role played by the state.