The Newberry Library Colloquium

The Schoolboy Spectator
Wednesday, September 4, 2013

4 pm

Towner Fellows’ Lounge

Jill Gage, Reference Librarian, Newberry Library; PhD Candidate, Queen Mary, University of London

In November 1787, the novelist Frances Burney, then a member of Queen Charlotte’s household, noted in her diary: ‘I read again to the Queen, a paper of the Microcosm. It is a periodical imitation of other periodical papers, and written by a set of Eton scholars. It has great merit for such youthful composers’. The Microcosm originally ran from November 1786 to July 1787 and was the first periodical written, edited, and published entirely by schoolboys; it took the literary world by storm, making a name for its young editors, who included George Canning – later to become Prime Minister. Jill Gage will discuss this landmark of schoolboy writing, which was reprinted and anthologized long into the 19th century and came to be known as the “Schoolboy Spectator”.

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