Mr. Review on the "Glorious" Tatler and the "Inimitable" Spectator

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James E. Evans, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: No other contemporary prose writer of comparable stature commented so often in print on the Tatler and the Spectator as Daniel Defoe. From June 1709 until June 1713 he discussed or mentioned them in twenty- five separate issues of his Review. Yet Defoe's attitude toward these periodicals has not been clearly understood. William Lytton Payne believes that Defoe "venerated" the Tatler and the Spectator, while occasionally differing with the latter. (1) Michael Shinage, on the other hand, argues that Defoe was "envious of the successful climb of Richard Steele, as well as the joint success of Addison and Steele with their Tatler and Spectator papers;" thus he was "less than charitable." (2) Richmond P. Bond states that Defoe wrote of the Tatler in the Review "with much respect," "early recommended" Isaac Olckerstaff, and "from time to time continued to praise the paper," making only one "mild comment" in criticism. (3) Edward A. and Lillian D. Bloom find Defoe a "critic" of Addison's methods in the Spectator, who criticizes too "petulantly." (4) If we recognize that these scholars each emphasize certain comments among Defoe's many in the Review, their contradictory estimates can be partly reconciled. In fact, he both respected and envied these periodicals, though at different times. His praise for Bickerstaff's succession to his own former endeavours declined, however, when the success of the Tatler the Spectator so eclipsed that of the Review.

Additional Information

Journal of Newspaper and Periodical History (now called Media History) 3.2 (1986): 2-9.
Language: English
Date: 1986
Daniel Defoe, Tatler, Spectator, Newspapers, Periodicals, Criticism

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