“TO ENLIVEN MORALITY WITH WIT”: HANDSOME 1808 SET OF THE SPECTATOR
(ADDISON and STEELE, et al.). The Spectator; A New Edition: Corrected from the Originals, with a Preface, Historical and Biographical, by Alexander Chalmers. London: J. Johnson et al., 1808. Eight volumes. 12mo, contemporary full diced brown calf gilt, mottled spines, marbled endpapers and edges. $1600.
Early 19th-century edition, handsomely bound.
Presenting essays by Addison, Richard Steele, Alexander Pope, Thomas Tickell and others, The Spectator, originally published 1711-14, “appeared daily, and was immensely popular, particularly with the new growing middle-class readership… The papers are mainly concerned with manners, morals, and literature. Their object is ‘to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality” (Drabble, 925-6). Addison helped set the pattern and establish the vogue for the periodical in the 18th-century, and cultivated a receptive audience for the emerging art form of the novel. “The Spectator made a mark in English literature, and fixed a form which was adopted with servile fidelity by many succeeding periodicals till the end of the century” (DNB). Bookplate.
Scattered foxing to first few pages in each volume, interiors otherwise fine. Contemporary diced calf with only light wear. A very handsome set.