ABSTRACT. The Review, The Tatler and The Spectator were major events in the history of English prose writing at the beginning of the eighteenth century. These publications made the periodical essay fashionable, providing a model of writing with style for many generations to come. The three main heroes of the imagination that made this project a reality were Daniel Defoe, Richard Steele and Joseph Addison. In the present paper we address main issues related with Steele’s and Addison’s pioneering work in The Tatler (April 1709–January 1711) and The Spectator (March 1711–December 1712; 1714), in order to grasp how a project that was started mainly by the wish to bring cultural, intellectual, scientific, esthetic, social, critical and philosophical matters to the masses – usually gathering in public places such as coffee-houses and chocolate houses at the beginning of the eighteenth century (a social phenomenon that today reminds one of conventions and literary clubs) – came to have such an enormous historical significance for not only the emergence of literary journalism, but even for the rise of the British domestic novel, whose exquisite form was to be established by Samuel Richardson a few decades later, in the 1740s.

Keywords: essay; journalism; Enlightenment; imaginative literature; the Spectator Club; virtue versus vice; moderation; the short story; the domestic novel; Richardson

Preda IA (2019) Steele and Addison: the periodical essay and the rise of the domestic novel. Stroe MA, ed. Creativity 3(2): 3–27. doi:10.22381/C3220201

Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures,
English Department,
The University of Bucharest, Romania

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