Richard Steele is a Publicist and Organizer of the English Periodical Print Media

DOI: 10.17721/2522-1272.2023.83.5  

UDC 070.000.93(410)

Olexander Meleshchenko, Doctor of Philology, Professor, Educational and Scientific Institute of Journalism, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv


The journalistic activity of Richard Steele, the British journalist and educator at the beginning of the 18th century and his role in organization of English print periodicals are considered. He is one of the four leading essayists of that time and competes only with Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift and Joseph Addison for the right to be called the founder of English professional journalism. Picking up Defoe‘s idea of creating perhaps the first edition in the world, where the news and the analysis would be combined, as well as Swift‘s idea of a literary mask, on behalf of which the readers can be educated through entertainment, Steele, together with Addison, published the magazine “The Tatler” in 1709 – 1711, which immediately gained popularity in the homeland and the overseas colonies, as well as on the European continent. In 1711 – 1712, the idea of literary masks was perfected and embodied in the pages of the even more popular magazine “The Spectator”. In 1713, the third magazine of the co-founders and the co-authors
was published – “The Guardian”, but it was inferior in popularity to the previous editions, especially “The Spectator”. In 1714, this gave reason to Addison to publish independently a continuation of this magazine, which in terms of popularity and circulation ranked third in the English-speaking world after the Bible and the works of W. Shakespeare.

Since then, the creative paths of peers, friends and co-authors diverged, each of them published their own editions. And if Defoe and Addison had enough enthusiasm for each of their several projects, then Steele founded and published ten magazines during the different periods of their existence from 1713 to 1720. The political conjuncture, working for the interests of the Whig party and the parliamentary factional activity dictated Steele to have at hand several of his own printed bodies that could be used for one purpose or another. Thus, Richard Steele became an outstanding organizer of the English periodical print media in the first twenty years of the 18th century.

KEYWORDS: Steele; Addison; Defoe; Swift; magazine; founder of English professional journalism; organizer of periodical print media.

Download the article in PDF

Leave a Reply