The Spectator. New Edition, carefully corrected from the Originals with Historical, Biographical, and Explanatory Notes, Contents and a General Index. To which are Prefixed, The Lives of the Authors.
London: Printed for J. Bumpus, Holborn-Bars, [for numerous booksellers]. 1819. 8 vols., 8vo, variously paginated. With an engraved frontispiece after Stothard in each volume Old calf, some covers a bit worn, brightly rebacked with red labels lettered in gilt. Best edition, a pleasant copy. The Spectator was a news sheet published from 1711-1712 in London and revived briefly in 1714; it was widely read in coffee houses. A note online states: Jürgen Habermas sees The Spectator as instrumental in the "structural transformation of the public sphere" which England saw in the 18th century. He argues that this transformation came about because of, and in the interests of, the middle class. Although The Spectator declares itself to be politically neutral, it was widely recognised as promoting Whig values and interests. The Spectator was also popular and widely read in the late 18th and 19th century. It was sold in eight-volume editions. Its prose style, and its marriage of morality and advice with entertainment, were considered exemplary. The decline in its popularity has been discussed by Brian McCrea and C. S. Lewis. Aside from the spectator himself, characters in the series included Sir Roger de Coverley, Will Honeycomb, etc.
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