26 September 2005

Readership concerns anno 1711

I may cast my Readers under two general Divisions, the Mercurial and the Saturnine. The first are the gay Part of my Disciples, who require Speculations of Wit and Humour; the others are those of a more solemn and sober Turn, who find no Pleasure but in Papers of Morality and sound Sense. The former call every thing that is Serious, Stupid; the latter look upon every thing as Impertinent that is Ludicrous. Were I always Grave, one half of my Readers would fall off from me: Were I always Merry, I should lose the other. I make it therefore my Endeavour to find out Entertainments of both Kinds, and by that means perhaps consult the Good of both, more than I should do, did I always write to the particular Taste of either. As they neither of them know what I proceed upon, the sprightly Reader, who takes up my Paper in order to be diverted, very often finds himself engaged unawares in a serious and profitable Course of Thinking; as on the contrary, the thoughtful Man, who perhaps may hope to find something Solid, and full of deep Reflection, is very often insensibly betrayed into a Fit of Mirth. In a word, the Reader sits down to my Entertainment without knowing his Bill of Fare, and has therefore at least the Pleasure of hoping there may be a Dish to his Palate.

My thoughts exactly... But this was written long before the blog age, viz. September 25, 1711 AD. From the real Spectator Essays, of course.

No comments: