Joseph Addison

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Joseph Addison
BirthplaceMilston, Wiltshire
Writer and politician

Addison, Joseph,

1672–1719, English essayist, poet, and statesman. He was educated at Charterhouse, where he was a classmate of Richard Steele, and at Oxford, where he became a distinguished classical scholar. His travels on the Continent from 1699 to 1703 were recorded in Remarks on Italy (1705). Addison first achieved prominence with The Campaign (1704), an epic celebrating the victory of Marlborough at Blenheim. The poem was commissioned by Lord Halifax, and its great success resulted in Addison's appointment in 1705 as undersecretary of state and in 1709 as secretary to the lord lieutenant of Ireland. He also held a seat in Parliament from 1708 until his death. Addison's most enduring fame was achieved as an essayist. In 1710 he began his contributions to the Tatler, which Richard SteeleSteele, Sir Richard,
1672–1729, English essayist and playwright, b. Dublin. After studying at Charterhouse and Oxford, he entered the army in 1694 and rose to the rank of captain by 1700. His first book, a moral tract entitled The Christian Hero, appeared in 1701.
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 had founded in 1709. He continued to write for successive publications, including the SpectatorSpectator,
English daily periodical published jointly by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele with occasional contributions from other writers. It succeeded the Tatler, a periodical begun by Steele on Apr. 12, 1709, under the pseudonym Isaac Bickerstaff.
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 (1711–12), the Guardian (1713), and the new Spectator (1714). His contributions to these periodicals raised the English essay to a degree of technical perfection never before achieved and perhaps never since surpassed. In a prose style marked by simplicity, order, and precision, he sought to engage men's thoughts toward reason, moderation, and a harmonious life. His works also include an opera libretto, Rosamund (1707); a prose comedy, The Drummer (1716); and a neoclassical tragedy, Cato (1713), which had an immense success in its own time, but has since been regarded as artificial and sententious. In his last years Addison received his greatest prominence. In 1717 he was made secretary of state, an office he resigned the following year. But the period (1714–19) was also marked by failing health, a supposedly unhappy marriage, and the severing of his relations with his good friend Richard Steele.


See biography by P. H. B. O. Smithers (1954, repr. 1968).

References in periodicals archive ?
Lord Shaftesbury and Christian Wolff represent two versions of a theory based on (aesthetic) knowledge or truth, Joseph Addison, Jean-Pierre Crousaz and Jean-Baptiste Du Bos exemplify the approach emphasizing the free play of our mental faculties and the primacy of our emotional responses.
A grand tradition of English music criticism dates back to the early 18th-century days of Joseph Addison and Richard Steele in The Spectator.
Caron places Hawthorne in a rich tradition of discourse about the purposes of satire that goes back to Joseph Addison and Richard Steele in the early eighteenth century.
His topics include the fairy way of writing; the sublime and the fantastic in Joseph Addison, Longinus, and Edmond Burke; Gothick pasts and Gothick futures in Horace Walpole and Mary Shelley; fairy unexplained in Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho; William Wordsworth and "Fable's Dark Abyss;" and Coleridge and Anna Letitia Barbauld on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Sus prototipos ingleses son hartamente conocidos: The Tatler (1709-1711) o The Spectator (1711-1712), de Richard Steele y Joseph Addison.
Writer and politician Joseph Addison wrote, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
Richard Steele and Joseph Addison, friends from their schooldays at Charterhouse, created a new literary genre in Queen Anne's time.
He was one of those later seventeenth-century figures, like John Locke, John Dryden and Joseph Addison, who were founders of eighteenth-century British thinking and culture.
According to Joseph Addison, "The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.
JOSEPH ADDISON LABELED Daniel Defoe "a false, shuffling, prevaricating rascal" and even his 19th-century biographer, William Minto, admitted that Defoe was "perhaps the greatest liar that ever lived.
THREE CENTURIES AGO, English essayist and poet Joseph Addison wrote, "Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind.