The Spectator [This is the Rare Dublin Edition with Bookseller-Label of T. Connolly (Dublin)]. [With Frontispiece – Illustrations by Pierre-Alexandre Aveline, Jacques Philippe de Bas and Francis Hayman].
8 Volumes (complete set). Dublin, Printed for W.Wilson, 1778. Small Octavo. Volume I: Frontispiece, VI, 325 pages plus 14 unnumbered pages of an Index (includes the notable essay “Inkle and Yarico” (Spectator 11) / Volume II: Frontispiece, IV, 336 pages plus 6 unnumbered pages of an Index / Volume III: Frontispiece, IV, 314 pages plus 10 unnumbered pages of an Index / Volume IV: Frontispiece, VI, 303 pages plus 9 unnumbered pages of an Index / Volume V: Frontispiece, III, 301 pages plus 11 unnumbered pages of an Index / Volume VI: IV, Frontispiece, 305 pages plus 19 unnumbered pages of an Index / Volume VII: Frontispiece, V, 333 pages plus 9 unnumbered pages of an Index / Volume VIII: Frontispiece, VIII, 300 pages plus 12 unnumbered pages of an Index [includes the Bookseller’s copyright-warning to the Reader that “no other Papers which have appeared under title of Spectator, since the closing of this eighth Volume, were written by any of those Gentlemen who had a hand in this or the former Volumes”. Hardcover / Original 18th century full leather. All Volumes firm and with some stronger rubbing (no broken spines or weak hinges). Binding of all eight Volumes look overall poor, with spinelabels missing or broken. Interior in excellent condition with some occasion faded dampstains but overall no browning and all the frontispieces in place. The Dublin Edition comes rarely to the market !
All eight Frontispieces are allegorical illustrations which relate in their theme to a number within the Spectator. All Volumes have an engraved titlepage. The articles deal with Gallantry and themes of the time. Many of the articles are aimed at the female readership of the time and famous writers and Statesmen were among the Readership (among them Benjamin Franklin, who “was also a reader, and the Spectator influenced his style in his “Silence Dogood” letters” [source: “George Goodwin – Benjamin Franklin in London”).
The Spectator was a daily publication founded by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele in England, lasting from 1711 to 1712. Each “paper”, or “number”, was approximately 2,500 words long, and the original run consisted of 555 numbers, beginning on 1 March 1711. These were collected into seven volumes. The paper was revived without the involvement of Steele in 1714, appearing thrice weekly for six months, and these papers when collected formed the eighth volume. Eustace Budgell, a cousin of Addison’s, and the poet John Hughes also contributed to the publication.
In Number 10, Mr. Spectator states that The Spectator will aim “to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality”. The journal reached an audience of thousands of people every day, because “the Spectators was something that every middle-class household with aspirations to looking like its members took literature seriously would want to have.” He hopes it will be said he has “brought philosophy out of closets and libraries, schools, and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables and coffee–houses”. Women specifically were also a target audience for The Spectator, because one of the aims of the periodical was to increase the number of women who were “of a more elevated life and conversation.” Steele states in The Spectator, No. 10, “But there are none to whom this paper will be more useful than to the female world.” He recommends that readers of the paper consider it “as a part of the tea-equipage” and set aside time to read it each morning. The Spectator sought to provide readers with topics for well-reasoned discussion, and to equip them to carry on conversations and engage in social interactions in a polite manner. In keeping with the values of Enlightenment philosophies of their time, the authors of The Spectator promoted family, marriage, and courtesy.
Despite a modest daily circulation of approximately 3,000 copies, The Spectator was widely read; Joseph Addison estimated that each number was read by thousands of Londoners, about a tenth of the capital’s population at the time. Contemporary historians and literary scholars, meanwhile, do not consider this to be an unreasonable claim; most readers were not themselves subscribers but patrons of one of the subscribing coffeehouses. These readers came from many stations in society, but the paper catered principally to the interests of England’s emerging middle class—merchants and traders large and small.
The Spectator also had many readers in the American colonies. In particular, James Madison read the paper avidly as a teenager. It is said to have had a big influence on his world view, lasting throughout his long life. Benjamin Franklin was also a reader, and the Spectator influenced his style in his “Silence Dogood” letters.
Jürgen Habermas sees The Spectator as instrumental in the formation of the public sphere in 18th century England. Although The Spectator declares itself to be politically neutral, it was widely recognised as promoting Whig values and interests.
The Spectator continued to be popular and widely read in the late 18th and 19th centuries. 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. (Wikipedia)