The Spectator (1711 -1712)
daily paper I shall endeavour to make
Steele and Addison created the genre of the "periodical essay".
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|In the introductory issue of The
Spectator, Addison himself explains that he
wants to enliven morality with wit and to temper
wit with morality, in other words, to instruct
The Spectator was the most successful newspaper of this period. Its success was due to many reasons, among which:
Indeed, Addisons prose, clear, plain, fluent and elegant, became a model for the writers of the time. His style, rich in humour, common sense and balance, was widely imitated and exerted a great influence also abroad.
Joseph Addison expressed his opinions through an imaginary spokesman, Mr Spectator, who signed all his essays. He was an objective observer of the customs and morals, of the virtues and vices of the English society. He also introduced other fictional characters who represented different points of view and social classes and discussed different topics in the paper (from the Tory country gentleman, to the Whig London merchant, from the student of Law to the soldier and to the fashionable society man. No women among them).
By the middle of the 18th century, the periodical and newspaper had definitely become a new reading genre. By the second half of the 18th century, the printed newspaper had grown into a four page issue, each page with four columns. It was the prototype of todays newspaper. It featured (contained) advertisements, employment announcements, reviews and information on concerts, books, fashion. There were also letters to the editor, gossip and long reports of overseas news. A very important function of the paper was the reporting of debates from the Houses of Parliament (the Journals) conceded in 1771.
Spectator, written by Steele and Addison, was
published until 1714 (555 issues altogether).
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