The Romantic period was witness to an extraordinary take-off in the production and consumption of periodical writing. Most critics of periodicals have been interested in them insofar as they offer a mode of cultural expression distinct from the literary canon, one more ready to address political issues directly. The writing in the government-sponsored Quarterly Review seems to offer itself as strictly political, antipathetic to literary expression. But the division between literature and its context in this period was not so secure. This article examines a print debate carried on between Robert Southey at the Quarterly and Leigh Hunt and William Hazlitt at The Examiner. This debate had the paradoxical effect of bringing these political opponents into closer contact with one another. Rather than political division, such writing suggests writers' co-operation in the production of a spectacle. Periodical feuding should be understood as evidence of the way in which readers appreciated political prose as literary entertainment.