What three classes of people does Joseph Addison say make up the audience for The Spectator?

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In Issue No. 10 of The Spectator, the character Mr. Spectator comments on the paper’s success to date. While all families can benefit, he encourages three groups of people in particular to consult the paper daily. He states his ambition to help people recover from the contemporary “desperate State of Vice and Folly . . . ” He tells the readers why such daily consultation is needed.

The Mind that lies fallow but a single Day, sprouts up in Follies that are only to be killed by a constant and assiduous Culture.

The first group is Gentlemen, by which he means “the Fraternity of Spectators” who are so affluent, so lazy, or do not work in business that they have nothing to do. Within “spectators” he includes men in the trades, doctors, politicians currently out of office, and others who observe rather than act:

every one that considers the World as a Theatre, and desires to form a right Judgment of those who are the Actors on it.

The second set is composed of men who lack ideas. Mr. Spectator calls them “the Blanks of Society.” His opinions will be useful to them because they do not think for themselves so if some asks them about the day’s news, they have nothing to say. He includes such information as which way the wind is blowing. They should stay home until they read The Spectator:

I would earnestly entreat them not to stir out of their Chambers till they have read this Paper, and do promise them that I will daily instil into them such sound and wholesome Sentiments, as shall have a good Effect on their Conversation . . .

The third, and especially important, group is women. He has observed that the kinds of activities and information available to them is often based on ideas about their gender. He is sure there are many in “the female World” who want to know more about fashion, embroidery, toys, and candy.

Their Amusements seem contrived for them rather as they are Women, than as they are reasonable Creatures; and are more adapted to the Sex, than to the Species . . . I know there are Multitudes of those [women] of a more elevated Life and Conversation, that move in an exalted Sphere of Knowledge and Virtue . . .

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One of the classes addressed by Addison was the traditionally literate and educated upper class, yet it is clear that he was also addressing the rising middle class that was becoming more and more educated in their own right and beginning to take an outspoken interest in politics, religions, and social issues.

from the Spectator alone, that the English nation, in the early years of the eighteenth century, was beginning to exercise a public opinion in matters relating to religion, politics, manners, and taste.

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