“TO ENLIVEN MORALITY WITH WIT”: THE TATLER, THE SPECTATOR, THE GUARDIAN, AND THE FREEHOLDER
(ADDISON, Joseph and STEELE, Richard, et al). The Spectator. Eight volumes. WITH: The Tatler. Four volumes. WITH: The Guardian. Two volumes. WITH: The Freeholder. London: Jacob and Richard Tonson, 1757-60. Together, fifteen volumes. Octavo, contemporary full mottled calf rebacked, raised bands, red and brown morocco spine labels. $1100.
Early editions, with vignette title pages and four frontispiece engravings.
These famous and influential periodicals, originally published between 1709 and 1716, consisted of essays by Addison, Richard Steele, Alexander Pope, Thomas Tickell and other contributors. Macaulay considered them “perhaps the finest Essays, both serious and playful, in the English language.” The Tatler addressed subjects ranging from “all accounts of Gallantry, Pleasure, and Entertainment” to poetry and learning, from proper etiquette to the character of the ideal gentleman. The Spectator “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). Together Addison and Steele set the pattern and established the vogue for the periodical in the 18th-century and helped create a receptive audience for the emerging art form of the novel. Bookplates. Owner signatures, small excisions to top right corners of front flyleaves in the Spectator.
Interiors clean, moderate rubbing to contemporary boards. A handsome set.