English Bards and Grecian Marbles: The Relationship between Sculpture and Poetry Especially in the Romantic Period

By Stephen A. Larrabee | Go to book overview

IV. THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

ADDISON AND POPE: THE MANNERS AND THE MIND

FOR ADDISON, as for Milton, a tyrannical state spelled the end of the liberal arts. In A Letter from Italy (written in 1701) and later, works, he frequently contrasted the Italy of the age of Cato with the wretched state through which he had traveled. Taking his cue from Milton and Waller, Addison regretted, too, that Greece languished under the Turks. The new land of liberty was England, and London had become the Athens of the West. Proclaiming his faith in the renaissance taking place in that ideal England of the Augustans, Addison announced a sentiment which included several fundamental ideas of the eighteenth century: "Riches and plenty are the natural fruit of liberty, and where these abound, learning and all the liberal arts will immediately lift up their heads and flourish" ( Spectator, No. 287).

Anxious not to neglect anything which dignifies mankind, Addison disseminated a certain amount of information about the arts and enrolled himself among the aesthetic critics. Moreover, he was the first English poet in whose work the art of sculpture was of more importance than painting. He had visited Italy where ancient "pillars rough with sculpture pierce the skies"; and, like poets from Hildebert to Shelley, he had been stimulated most by the statuary, reporting that "no part of the antiquities of Rome pleased me so much as the ancient statues."1 Perhaps the preference of statuary was inevitable when one viewed Italy, as Dr. Johnson remarked of Addison, "with the eyes of

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1
A Letter from Italy, p. 77, and "Remarks on Italy", Works, ed. Hurd ( 1870), I, 33, 459. In Topographical Poetry in XVIII-Century England ( New York, 1936), pp. 242-44, Robert A. Aubin places Addison's poem in the "seriously descriptive" group of journey-poems: "Addison conscientiously packs in historical reflections and notices of statues and paintings."

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English Bards and Grecian Marbles: The Relationship between Sculpture and Poetry Especially in the Romantic Period
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vi
  • Contents xi
  • Contents xiii
  • I. Poets and Sculpture 1
  • Ii. the Early Poets 18
  • III- the Seventeenth Century Pre-Restoration: the Uses Of Statue-Craft 43
  • Iv. the Eighteenth Century 66
  • V. Blake 99
  • VI- Wordsworth And Coleridge 120
  • VII- Byron Byron and Art 149
  • VIII- Shelley Greece: "The Crystalline Sea Of Thought" 175
  • IX- Keats Keats, the "Greek" 204
  • X. Landor and Hunt 233
  • Xi. the Lesser Poets 257
  • Xii. Conclusion 277
  • List of Critical Terms 289
  • A Selective Bibliography 293
  • Index 299
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