The following selection comprises all numbers of the Spectator which are concerned with the history or character of Sir Roger de Coverley, and all those which arise out of the Spectator's visit to his country house. Sir Roger's name occurs in some seventeen other papers, but in these he either receives only passing mention, or is introduced as a speaker in conversations where the real interest is the subject under discussion.
speculations or moral reflections he gives us those instead. It is the capricious chat of a man who likes to talk, not the product of an imperative need of artistic expression. It is significant that so much of his work consists of gossip about people. This growing interest in the individual was leading up to the great eighteenth century novel. It seems to arise out of a growing sense of identity, a stronger interest in oneself; there is a common motive at the root of our observation of other people, of the interest attaching to ordinary actions presented on the stage, and of the fascination of a reflection or a portrait of ourselves; by these means we are enabled to some extent to become detached, and to take an external and impersonal view of ourselves. The stage had already turned to the representation of contemporary life and manners; portraiture was increasing in popularity; and the novel was on its way.
In the Coverley Papers all the characteristic species of the Spectator are represent
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