Addison, "The Aims of The Spectator"


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Addison, "The Aims of The Spectator"

  1. 1.  1672-1719 Educated, worked in politics, wrote poetry Founded a periodical (magazine) named The Spectator with his friend Richard Steele  Became the most celebrated journalists in England  Almost every magazine today uses an informal, popular style like the one they invented
  2. 2.  Essay = “attempt” or “test” Short prose (not poetry) piece that explores a topic as if the author were letting you overhear his/her thoughts Used by Addison to discover connections between experiences and learn about the self  Linked observations and anecdotes to form ideas and arguments  Helped readers ask and answer questions about themselves such as “Who am I?” “What should I do?”
  3. 3.  Title of magazine = “The Spectator” “Aims” = reasons for doing something, goals Time period = After English Civil War Audience = British middle class  New and rising social group
  4. 4. “It is with much satisfaction that I hear this great cityinquiring day by day after these my papers, andreceiving my morning lectures with a becomingseriousness and attention. My publisher tells me thatthere are already three thousand of them distributedevery day. So that if I allow twenty readers to everypaper, which I look upon as a modest computation, Imay reckon about three-score thousand (60,000)disciples in London and Westminster, whom I hopewill take care to distinguish themselves from thethoughtless herd of their ignorant and unattentivebrethren. Since I have raised to myself so great anaudience, I shall spare no pains to make theirinstruction agreeable, and their diversion useful.”
  5. 5. “For which reasons I shall endeavor to enliven moralitywith wit, and to temper wit with morality, that my readersmay, if possible, both ways find their account in thespeculation of the day. And to the end that their virtue anddiscretion may not be short, transient, intermitting startsof the thought, I have resolved to refresh their memoriesfrom day to day, till I have recovered them out of thatdesperate state of vice and folly into which the age isfallen. The mind that lies fallow but a single day sproutsup in follies that are only to be killed by a constant andassiduous culture. It was said of Socrates that thebrought philosophy down from heaven, to inhabit amongmen; and I shall be ambitious to have it said of me that Ihave brought philosophy out of closets andlibraries, schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs andassemblies, at tea tables and in coffeehouses.”