The Afterlife and The Spectator
Studies in English Literature 1500-1900
Joseph Addison and Richard Steele’s Spectator markets itself to readers as a diurnal regimen of moral and spiritual self-formation: by consuming the paper each day, readers can prepare themselves for the afterlife, which the Spectator argues will be an extrapolation or continuation of life lived on earth, rather than a radically different other world. The paper’s own publication history provides a literary double of this theological argument: first published in ephemeral daily installments, the paper ensures its afterlife through republication in enduring volume form. For the Spectator, both literary and personal immortality are constructed from day to day.
Sider Jost, Jacob, "The Afterlife and The Spectator" (2011). Dickinson College Faculty Publications. Paper 129.