Edward Ward: The London Spy

(1221 words)
  • Alison O'Byrne (University of York)

In November of 1698, Londoners were presented with a new periodical venture that its author, Ned Ward, described as “a complete survey of the most remarkably places, as well as the common vanities and follies of mankind (both day and night)” as seen in London. The London Spy (1698-1700) was a monthly publication lasting eighteen months, written in the authorial voice of a philosopher who throws aside book learning (with “a fig for St. Augustine…a fart for Virgil…and a turd for Descartes”) in favor of actual experience. Clearly indebted to the success of Giovanni Paolo Marana’s Letters Writ by a Turkish Spy (first translated into English in 1687), the periodical presented everyday scenes already familiar …

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O'Byrne, Alison. "The London Spy". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 August 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=16838, accessed 27 September 2016.]