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Last Updated on August 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 210

The Spectator was a newspaper published daily between 1711 and 1722. The essays were short by modern editorial standards (a few thousand words per essay). The essays were mostly fictional short stories, and its goal, according to one of the two editors, Joseph Addison, was to make the relatively high art of witty fiction more accessible to a modern audience, particularly women. Here is a quote from the June 22, 1711, issue that demonstrates this wit:

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Nature is not so variable a thing in Nature as a lady's head-dress.

The paper also waxed philosophical on certain points, such as the meaning of life and enjoyments (here from the November 13, 1712, issue):

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Latest answer posted July 14, 2012, 3:29 pm (UTC)

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One hope no sooner dies in us but another rises up in its stead. We are apt to fancy that we shall be happy and satisfied if we possess ourselves of such and such particularly enjoyments; but either by reason of their emptiness, or the natural inquietude of the mind, we have no sooner gained one point, but we extend our hopes to another. We still find new inviting scenes and landscapes lying behind those which at a distance terminated our view.

Addison and Steele's acclaimed and historically significant Spectator gave its name to the modern British current events publication of the same name.

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