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ion and not to an individual. In the Queen Anne age, however, a vigorous writer could influence public opinion and was rewarded by political office somewhat as a great journalist is now ; for government by parties through Parliament was a natural result of the increasing wealth and importance of the Commons, and the leaders of the party were naturally the most valuable patrons. Patronage still existed but in a modified form, and the great publishing houses, looking to the reading public for support, began to take the place of the patron, the list of subscribers, and the small printing establishments of the former age. Changes of this character which mark the growth of democracy and widely diffused wealth are necessarily slow. Their initial stages can be traced soon after the invention of printing, but in their modern form they may be said to begin with the Queen Anne period.
The age of Queen Anne is marked by the development of what may be called “ social prose.” This is usually in the
form of the short story, or essay, and the subject Joseph Addison, is usually some of the aspects of contemporary 1672-1719.
life. The spirit is ironical or gently humorous, the style lucid, graceful, and simple, and the manner marked by refinement and a general air of good breeding and urbanity; the aim, instruction combined with entertainment. It is civilized, cultured, and intelligent, but not destructive in its criticism of manners and life. From Addison and Steele it can be traced through Goldsmith, Lamb, Irving, Curtis, Holmes, and Warner, as the expression of genial moralists and witty reformers, who have charm, grace, and distinction, and content themselves by pointing out the ridiculous side of vice rather than its hideousness and repulsiveness. This quiet, finished prose is a true literary
form, and its beginnings are to be found in the Tatler and Spectator of Addison and Steele. As is always the case, the first perfect specimens of any form have an attraction of their own because they imitate no models, and the writers who initiate a new form are entitled to credit as inventors or pioneers which subsequent followers must not expect to receive although they may excel the original masters in skill of handling and possibly in true literary value.
Addison was born in Wiltshire on the 1st of May, 1672. His father, Lancelot Addison, was a clergyman of culture and accomplishment and the author of several treatises on theological subjects. Young Addison was sent to Charter House School and passed from there to Oxford, where he distinguished himself as a classical scholar. When he was twenty-two, he wrote a rhymed “Account of the English Poets,” in which he does not even mention Shakespeare. The pen was just coming to be recognized as a political instrument for influencing public opinion at this time, and Lord Halifax sought to attach the young writer to the Whig party, and procured for him a pension which enabled him to travel on the continent. Of this he was deprived by the death of King William in 1702, and returned to England with his fortunes at rather a low ebb. In 1704, however, he made a great hit with his poem “ The Campaign,” celebrating Marlborough's victory at Blenheim. He was made Undersecretary of State, and in 1708 Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the position once held by the poet Spenser. In 1702
the first daily paper, the Daily Courant, was Newspapers. printed, and although it was but a very small sheet, it ran till 1735. In the last ten years of the seventeenth century a number of short-lived periodicals
appeared, some being published in the interests of the political parties, which were then in the earliest stage of their development, some containing gossip and meager
Party organization comes with constitutional government, and the newspaper is necessary to the party. All were, of course, in an embryonic condition, and we should hardly dignify the Athenian, Mercury, or the Whig Examiner with the name of newspaper any more than we should consider the government of the period a well-balanced constitutional government. However, Richard Steele established in 1709 the Tatler, a paper to appear three times a week at the price of a penny, and to contain “Accounts of Gallantry, Pleasure and Entertainment, Poetry, Learning, and Foreign and Domestic News.”
Addison and Steele had been schoolmates, and Addison detected the hand of his old friend in the fifth number. He wrote to Steele offering to contribute, and his aid was gladly accepted, so that from No. 18 Addison became a regular contributor. The Tatler was discontinued in 1711, and a few months later the Spectator was started by the two friends. The fine quality of Addison's contribuThe “Spec
paper great popularity. Steele's are hardly inferior, and the first idea of the famous club which Sir Roger de Coverley visits, the sessions of which are recorded by the Spectator, was Steele’s. Addison says, shortly after the paper started, that the circulation of the Spectator was nearly three thousand, though it would appear that toward the close of its career nine or ten thousand copies were sold. Addison's papers number 274 against 236 contributed by Steele. As the organization of a permanent staff of editors was not understood, the early papers depended on the energy of one or two men and were never long-lived. In
quence an Augustan periodical runs for a while, and is suddenly discontinued and perhaps revived again after a few months in a manner that is very perplexing. Thus the Tatler was dropped early in 1711, the Spectator was begun on the 1st day of March, 1711, and appeared daily till December, 1712, reaching 555 numbers. Then it stopped, and Steele set on foot the Guardian in March, 1713, which ran for about eight months. To this Addison contributed fifty-three papers. Then in the last six months of 1714 the Spectator was revived and ran half a year.
To this Addison contributed twenty-four papers. In the Spectator is contained the best of Addison's work. The Sir Roger de Coverley series is perhaps the best known, but many of the others are marked by the grace, felicity, and humor with which Addison treated topics of current interest.
The rest of Addison's work, though dignified and scholarly, is not by itself of sufficiently original quality to give him a place in the history of literature. His tragedy
“ Cato” was received with great favor, because
it was interpreted as reflecting political questions, but it is essentially undramatic, though containing some fine rhetoric. The classic idea of unity of place is strictly observed, and Voltaire says that “the first English writer who composed a regular tragedy and infused a spirit of elegance through every part of it was the illustrious Mr. Addison." Praise from the man who considered Shakespeare a “barbarian " shows how far the idea of formal correctness had displaced the idea of free, artistic inspiration as a canon of literary criticism. Indeed, Addison's literary criticisms in the Spectator are about the first criticisms based on systematic principles of taste in the language. He is the reputed author of another play, the
“Drummer,” which does not rise above mediocrity. His political writings, --contained principally in another perioilical, called the Freeholder, which also ran for about six months, --- are marked by good sense, moderation, and unenthusiastic patriotism.
Addison's prose is simple and intelligible, and, although he undoubtedly took great pains to make it finished, and
was about the first to regard prose writing as an Prose. art, it always appears natural and unaffected. The following is a specimen of his lighter humorous treatment in which his originality is not marked though his ability is not less evident than in more elevated and serious moralizing. Italian opera had just been introduced into England and had met with great favor. Addison himself wrote the libretto of an opera called “ Rosamond” based on the story of fair Rosamond of Woodstock and Queen Eleanor, but the music was so poor that the performance was a failure. “Hydaspes,” to which he refers, was also an opera, in which a lion was killed by the hero in the amphitheater.
SIGNOR NICOLINI AND THE LION There is nothing that of late years has afforded matter of greater amusement to the town than Signor Nicolini's combat with a lion in the Haymarket, which has been very often exhibited to the general satisfaction of most of the nobility and gentry in the Kingdom of Great Britain. But before I communicate my discoveries I must acquaint the reader that upon my walking behind the scenes last winter, as I was thinking on something else, I accidentally jostled against a monstrous animal that extremely startled me, and upon my nearer survey of it, it appeared to be a lion rampant. The lion seeing me much surprised, told me in a gentle voice that I might come by him if I pleased; for says he, “I do not intend to hurt anybody." I thanked him very kindly and passed by him, and in a little time after saw him leap upon the stage and act his part with very great applause. It has