Title: The Spectator (Vols. I-VIII)
Publisher: Printed by H. Baldwin for Messrs. Longman, Dodsley, Law. [et al], London
Publication Date: 1797
Book Condition: Very Good+
Edition: Variorum Edition
Contemporary tree calf, gilt-ruled spine, gilt-stamped lettering in red and black leather spine labels; complete set of 8 volumes, 8vo; engraved title-page in every volume. Spines a bit dry, with some light chipping at tips; some light scuffing along spines and edges of boards. Occasional marginal browning and foxing, primarily confined to prelims and terminals, but contents are overall nice and clean. A handsome set, despite a little wear to the bindings. "The Spectator " sought "to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality" (as discussed in its Number 10), providing readers with topics for well-reasoned and polite discussion, in keeping with the values of Enlightenment philosophies of their time -- 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 60,000 Londoners, about a tenth of the capital's population at the time. Contemporary historians and literary scholars do not consider this to be an unreasonable claim, as 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 including, famously, James Madison. Lowndes 2470. Bookseller Inventory # JC11981
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