Updating Addison: Culture, Appropriation and The Connoisseur

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This article explores The Connoisseur's combined engagement with its most important literary precursor and the society of its day. With its satire on the fashionable leisure culture of the mid-eighteenth century, Bonnell Thornton and George Colman's periodical, published from 1754 to 1756, followed self-consciously in the footsteps of Addison. Yet adopting the Addisonian model at mid-century was no straightforward task. Not only had the cultural landscape shifted during the forty years since The Spectator, but emulating this modern classic raised thorny issues regarding the originality and value of The Connoisseur itself. In appropriating the Addisonian essay, the challenge for Colman and Thornton was thus to update Addison: to adapt their model to changing times. This article examines how Colman and Thornton sought to validate their particular contribution to the polite periodical tradition, along with the difficulties they encountered in maintaining a Spectatorial detachment from the fashionable milieu that was their primary theme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalForum for Modern Language Studies
Issue number1
Early online date04 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

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