"TO ENLIVEN MORALITY WITH WIT, AND TO TEMPER WIT WITH MORALITY"
ADDISON, Joseph. The Spectator: with a Historical and Biographical Preface by A. Chalmers. Boston: Little, Brown, 1872. Eight volumes. 12mo, contemporary three-quarter polished tan calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edges gilt. $1500.
Late 19th-century collected edition of Joseph Addison’s seminal periodical, with engraved frontispiece portraits in the first two volumes.
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). Armorial bookplate.
Light dampstaining to bottom margin of about the first hundred pages of Volume IV. Light dampstaining to calf binding of a few volumes, very little rubbing. A near-fine set.