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SRAGUE LIBRARY




         
Image from Spectator, Volume I (1740 ed.)

The Spectator

Brief Introduction:

The Spectator (1711-14), by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, was an extremely innovative publication; it was enormously influential, not only in the content of its speculations on aesthetics, literary style, and urban life, but also as a medium. It, along with the Tatler, inaugurated the tradition of the daily periodical whose subject was not news, but literature and manners, and they adapted the gentlemanly culture of polite letters to a wide print audience. For scholars studying the relation between commerce and culture or the emergence of what Jurgen Habermas has called the 'bourgeois public sphere,' the work of Addison and Steele is seminal. Moreover, the periodical in general has recently become a great source of interest for literary scholars and academics working on 'the history of the book.'

Complete Text of the Spectator, Female Spectator, Tatler, and other works.