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JOHN TUTCHIN'S OBSERVATOR, COMMENT SERIALS, AND THE ‘RAGE OF PARTY’ IN BRITAIN, 1678 – c. 1730

Taylor, E; (2019) JOHN TUTCHIN'S OBSERVATOR, COMMENT SERIALS, AND THE ‘RAGE OF PARTY’ IN BRITAIN, 1678 – c. 1730. The Historical Journal 10.1017/s0018246x19000451. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The importance of print in the ‘rage of party’ of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Britain is well known, but scholars have paid insufficient attention to the press phenomenon that provided the most persistent and undiluted partisan voices of the era, the comment serial. Comment serials – regular printed publications designed explicitly to present topical analysis, opinion, and advice – were fashioned as powerful weapons for partisan combat. Due to their regularity and flexibility, they could be more potent than other forms of topical print, especially pamphlets and newspapers. Although many publications have been individually recognized as comment serials, such as Roger L'Estrange's Observator (1681–7), Daniel Defoe's Review (1704–13), and Jonathan Swift and others’ Examiner (1710–14), their development as a holistic phenomenon has not been properly understood. They first appeared during the Succession Crisis (1678–82), and proliferated under Queen Anne (1702–14), supporting both tory and whig causes. Through widespread consumption, both direct and indirect, they shaped partisan culture in various ways, including by reinforcing and galvanizing partisan identities, facilitating the development of partisan ‘reading communities’, and manifesting and representing party divisions in public. This article focuses on John Tutchin's Observator (1702–12) as a case-study of a major comment serial.

Type: Article
Title: JOHN TUTCHIN'S OBSERVATOR, COMMENT SERIALS, AND THE ‘RAGE OF PARTY’ IN BRITAIN, 1678 – c. 1730
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/s0018246x19000451
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/s0018246x19000451
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Greek and Latin
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10086905
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