Joseph addison

Sugared with wit: How ‘Mr Spectator’ came to life

The Spectator is a child of the 19th century, and damned proud of it. First published in 1828, the link provided by its 10,000 issues to a long-vanished age of Regency waistlines and Romantic poets is one of the great wonders of journalism. Its success was built upon Victorian foundations, yet it is a peculiarity of the current media landscape that The Spectator, the only current affairs magazine actually to have been published in the 19th century, should in many ways seem the least Victorian of the lot. The New Statesman, Prospect, Standpoint: all have a certain quality of moral earnestness that one could imagine Gladstone admiring. The Spectator, by