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Daily periodical published in London by Richard Steele and Joseph Addison from March 1, 1711, to Dec. 6, 1712, and revived by Addison in 1714 (for 80 issues). It succeeded The Tatler, launched by Steele in 1709. Aiming to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality, The Spectator presented a fictional club whose imaginary members expressed the writers' ideas about society. It made serious discussion of letters and politics a normal pastime of the leisured class, set the pattern and established the vogue for the periodical in the 18th century, and helped create a receptive public for novelists.
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