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Copyright, 1893,
BY HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO.

All rights reserved.

The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U.S. A.
Electrotyped and Printed by H. 0. Houghton & Co.

INTRODUCTION.

The frontispiece to this volume 1 gives on a reduced scale the general appearance of a folio sheet which appeared in London on the first day of March, 1710– 1711,2 was issued daily until December 6, 1712, when it was discontinued for a year and a half, resumed June 18, 1714, and then issued three times a week until December 20 of the same year, when it ceased altogether. A daily paper, it resembled the modern daily paper only in having advertisements on the same sheet, but these were few and unobtrusive. It was in effect far more comparable with the modern magazine, for it left news and politics and trade to the general newspaper, which was then beginning to assert itself, and occupied itself with criticism on books, comments on fashions and manners, and, what interests us most, attempts at character drawing and portraits of typical personages.

The “Spectator" is chief among the papers of its class which occupied the central position in literature in the eighteenth century, and it holds its high place

1 Published through the courtesy of the Lenox Library, New York, where the original is preserved.

2 In the former half of the eighteenth century it was still common to treat the 25th of March as New Year's Day. In order, therefore, to indicate the precise year of the days between January 1 and March 25, it was customary to write the double year date as 1710–1711, or 171°,' meaning 1710, if the reader observed March 25 as New Year's Day ; 1711 if he observed January 1.

The essay

because it was almost wholly the work of the two best
writers of English of that time, Joseph Addison and
Sir Richard Steele. Both of these men were artists
in letters, but they had that wholesome view of life,
also, which forbade them to treat men and manners
merely as playthings for the imagination.
was the form of literature which they found most
available, for it was the nearest artistic reproduction
of social intercourse, and the London of the early
part of the eighteenth century was the London of
coffee - houses, of court manners extending into the
multitude of families which allied themselves with
the two great parties in English politics, and the
London of a commercial class rising into dignity and
power.

In the essay as Addison and Steele perfected it lay as yet undeveloped the modern novel.

The romance was a form of literature recognized and accepted, and when the writers of these essays feigned narratives of distressed or inquiring damsels, they often gave them names out of the romances as Annabella, Eucratia, Amaryllis, Leonora, and the like. But they fell, also, into the way of calling the fictitious figures Patience Giddy, Thomas Trusty, Sam Hopewell, and similar homely names, and at every stroke came nearer, also, to the familiar forms of actual life. It is apparent that the popularity of the “Spectator" from the first was due largely to the reality with which its authors invested the characters whom they impersonated. As soon as the Spectator himself had drawn his own portrait, he enlisted the interest and attention of a compact society of readers in London who loved gossip and social intercourse and were delighted to see their taste thus reflected in graceful literature. And

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