Bees on paper: the British press reads the Fable
Keywords:newspapers, advertisings, Nathaniel Mist, Robert Walpole, Jonathan Wild, South sea bubble
The British press played a significant role by influencing public debates following the publication of Mandeville’s The fable of the bees. Between 1714 and 1732, British newspapers published over three hundred reports on the Fable that circulated in the form of editorials and advertising announcements. These publications not only offered general information on the Fable, they also fueled controversy surrounding Mandeville's text. In this article I will analyse how the British press introduced the Fable to its readers and influenced its reception. Specifically, my aim is to show how the Fable's reception was shaped by the political and economic orientation of the newspapers in question. In doing so, I will analyze appearances of the Fable and its critics in the British press. I will then examine the language and topics used by two popular essay-papers, the Mist weekly journal and the Craftsman, who presented Mandeville’s book.