Tatler  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Tatler (also, informally, The Tatler) has been the name of several British journals and magazines, each of which has viewed itself as the successor of the original literary and society journal founded by Richard Steele in 1709. The current incarnation, founded in 1901, is a glossy magazine published by Condé Nast Publications focusing on the glamorous lives and lifestyles of the upper class. A 300th anniversary party for the magazine was held in October 2009.

1709 journal

The original Tatler was founded in 1709 by Richard Steele, who used the nom de plume "Isaac Bickerstaff, Esquire", the first such consistently adopted journalistic persona, which adapted to the first person, as it were, the seventeenth-century genre of "characters", as first established in English by Sir Thomas Overbury and soon to be expanded by Lord Shaftesbury's Characteristics (1711). Steele's idea was to publish the news and gossip heard in London coffeehouses, hence the title, and seemingly, from the opening paragraph, to leave the subject of politics to the newspapers, while presenting Whiggish views and correcting middle-class manners, while instructing "these Gentlemen, for the most part being Persons of strong Zeal, and weak Intellects...what to think." To assure complete coverage of local gossip, a reporter was placed in each of the city's popular coffeehouses, or at least such were the datelines: accounts of manners and mores were datelined from White's; literary notes from Will’s; notes of antiquarian interest were dated from the Grecian Coffee House; and news items from St. James’s.

In its first incarnation, it was published three times a week. The original Tatler was published for only two years, from 12 April 1709 to 2 January 1711. A collected edition was published in 1710–11, with the title The Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq..

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