Edited By Klaus-Dieter Ertler, Yvonne Völkl, Elisabeth Hobisch, Alexandra Fuchs and Hans Fernández
The Spectators, also known as Moral Weeklies, were an important magazine genre which came into being in the early 18th century and which shaped European identity by developing the strategies of critical journalism and by popularizing the ideas and values of the Age of Enlightenment. Investigating modes of storytelling in the Spectators is an important starting point for a paradigmatic investigation of our historical, cultural and philosophical evolution since the Enlightenment and the impact of these magazines on issues of identity in today’s Europe. In this collection on ‹Storytelling in the Spectators›, we present a series of contributions which study English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Czech, Polish and Danish-Norwegian periodicals.
Stories of Authorship, Politics, and Friendship: Hugh Kelly, Oliver Goldsmith, and the Babler (1763–1767)
The Babler was a collection of essays originally serialised in Owen’s Weekly Chronicle from February 1763 until June 1767. Hugh Kelly (1739–1777) presided over the Babler and was its main author. Very few numbers of Owen’s Weekly Chronicle are known to exist; what remains to us of the Babler, therefore, is largely contained in a collected edition published in 1767 in two volumes by John Newbery (and others). I wish to give an account of the inception and development of that weekly publishing venture, drawing particular attention to the magazine’s treatments of three topics in particular: the plight of the professional author in the still burgeoning, post-Spectator market for periodical essay writing; the nature of party politics and the economic wellbeing of nations; and the nature of friendship. Alongside this last topic must be considered the relationship between Hugh Kelly and Oliver Goldsmith (1728–1774). Goldsmith, who would become one of the most famous writers—across the genres—of the 1760s and 1770s, was an erstwhile, ultimately estranged, friend to Kelly. He contributed at least one essay (that we know of) to the Babler. While primarily concerned with giving an overview of The Babler, this essay will propose continuities and discontinuities between the worldviews of the two men, and suggest where appropriate a degree of possible collaboration with or contribution from Goldsmith in Kelly’s series. The sentiments of several numbers of the Babler, on issues of authorship and party politics, though not acknowledged as works by Goldsmith,...
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