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«Spectator»-Type Periodicals in International Perspective

Enlightened Moral Journalism in Europe and North America


Edited By Misia Sophia Doms

As soon as the Spectator model spread from England to continental Europe and began to be incorporated in French, Dutch and German translations and adaptions, the respective journalistic networks and negotiations regularly exceeded local, regional, and even national boundaries and took on international dimensions. The contributions of the present volume outline the historical development and the intricate literary, artistic, journalistic and scientific communication and distribution networks of the moral weeklies and periodical essays inspired by the Spectator prototype in Europe and North America. Thus, these periodicals become visible as parts and products of ramified learned and creative negotiations on genres, writing techniques and topics.

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The European Spectatorial Press in English


General Survey and Case Study on the Female Space in The Spectator and The Female Spectator

Abstract: This paper explores the historical background of the influential Spectator model, its main characteristics and its impact on later periodical publications. Another special focus is on the extent of the ‘female space’ in The Spectator’s literary public sphere compared to a periodical of the Spectator model written by a woman for women, namely The Female Spectator.

Keywords: English Spectator-type periodicals, readers’ letters, female readers

Joseph Addison’s and Richard Steele’s extraordinary influence on the periodical genre is undisputed within literary history. Robert Donald Mayo has argued that few periodical writers for a generation after Addison and Steele ventured to introduce new narrative forms or extend the boundaries of the old ones.1 Steele’s and Addison’s cooperation in publishing The Spectator (1711–1712) became most influential.2 If later eighteenth-century periodical writers were not “Spectators”, “they were”, as Mayo correctly notes, “nothing at all”.3 The characteristics of the Spectator model would not only have a large influence on later periodical writers in England, but also on journalists and authors working overseas. It became a prototype for essay writing, and a vehicle for the publication of readers’ letters, which will be given a closer look below. In a first step, however, the present paper will deal with the historical background of the Spectator model, its characteristics and its impact on later periodical publications written in English.

Historical background

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