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The first British newspaper, the Oxford Gazette, was introduced in 1645.
Two years later the Licensing Act of 1647 established government control of the press by granting the Gazette a strictly enforced monopoly on printed news.
See also Topical Essay Bibliography Weed, Katherine Kirtley, and Richmond Pugh Bond, Studies of British Newspapers and Periodicals from Their Beginning to 1800: A Bibliography, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1946 Further Reading Bateson, F.
W., “Addison, Steele, and the Periodical Essay,” in Dryden to Johnson, edited by Roger Lonsdale, New York: Bedrick, 1987 Black, Jeremy, The English Press in the Eighteenth Century, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987 Bond, Richmond Pugh, Studies in the Early English Periodical, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1957 Bond, Richmond Pugh, Growth and Change in the Early English Press, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1969 Graham, Walter, English Literary Periodicals, New York: Nelson, 1967 (original edition, 1930) Marr, George Simpson, The Periodical Essayists of the Eighteenth Century, New York: Appleton, 1924 Watson, Melvin Roy, “The Spectator Tradition and the Development of the Familiar Essay,” English Literary History 13 (1946): 189–215 Watson, Melvin Roy, Magazine Serials and the Essay Tradition, 1746–1820, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1956 Wiles, R.
The confluence of three separate cultural developments appears to have caused the emergence of the periodical essay form early in the 18th century.
The first of these was the rise of publications that conveyed news, commentary, and (frequently) political propaganda to the general reading public.
Ultimately, the form evolved in ways that integrated it into the general conventions of literary publication; that is, the essay series was continued until sufficient numbers had been published to make up two- or four-volume sets.
In 1764, when William King published as The Dreamer a group of essays (infused with all the qualities of the periodical essay form) which had never been published serially, the serial form may be said to have reached historical closure.