The spectator addison and steele.

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Marta Jiménez Gentil

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The Spectator

Selected reading


The following questions are the general guidelines for this week´s critical review. You can answer them separately or write a plain text including all of them. Try to provide examples, quote excerpts that support your analysis, and indicate the page whennecessary. Complete your reading with personal inquiries about some of the contents and refer bibliography at the end. The more reasonable and well-defended answers you offer, the more valuable your hands-on project will be. Do not forget to bring a printed copy to class:

1. Which are the general purposes of The Spectator?

Their purpose was to “enliven morality with wit, and to temper witwith morality... to bring philosophy out of the closets and libraries, schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables and coffeehouses" (The Spectator. Nº10.1711).The Spectator described very well the concept of culture and reason created in England during the Enlightment.
The Spectator tries to educate principally to the emerging middle class of that time, at thesame time another main of the newspaper is to teach to their audience how to have wise conversations in a polite manner when they are in Coffee Houses.
Even this newspaper is directed to the general public, not only to the aristocracy, they still promote the traditional values of that time. For example, when Addison speaks about the women, we can see the patriarchal role implicit on his words:“The Toilet is their Great Scene of Business and the right adjusting of their Hair the principal Employment of their Lives”.
Habermas already portrayed the Spectator newspaper as a clear example of the public sphere created in the 18th century Enlightment in England.

2. How does The Spectator define its readers? Which social groups are perceived as its main target?

TheSpectator speaks about different kind of readers, as we can see in the newspaper number 10 published in 1711.
Joseph Addison refers to: “All well-regulated families” reading newspaper as an everyday practice during the tea, bread and butter time. Apart from that he also refers to that people looking for knowledge and amusement in a newspaper, as those “gentleman… without having anything todo…have no other business with the rest of the mankind but look upon them… In short everyone that consider the world as a theatre and desire to form a right judgment of those who are the actors on it”. He also expresses the idea of the importance of reading The Spectator newspaper if you want to know about “the business and the conversation of the Day”. Finally he also speak about those women “withmore elevated life and conversation that move in a exalted sphere of knowledge and virtue”, but he only speaks about that few potential readers as part of his audience.

3. Which journalistic genre do Addison & Steele practice? Justify your answer.

Steele and Addison created the genre “periodical essay”.
This newspaper spoke about high social topics (as we could see in TheSpectator in the nº19 by Steel writing about the topic of the envy).
The newspaper is distinguished by its high social topics, trying to instruct and to teach to the audience at the same time. The Spectator promoted good-nature, politeness and virtue.
Essays are pieces of writing from authors personal point of view. As the articles written on The Spectator do writing in prose styleand mixing morality and advice with entertainment. The essays are discussions of current events, literature, and gossip often written in a highly ironic and refined
4. How does the text create its (fictional) author? Analyze the literary & journalist resources -verbs (tenses, number & person); narrative & argumentative strategies, etc.-.

The writers expressed their...
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