The Age of Milton: An Encyclopedia of Major 17th-Century British and American Authors

By Alan Hager | Go to book overview

Joseph Addison
(1672-1719)

RICHARD EVERSOLE


BIOGRAPHY

Joseph Addison, whose literary career flourished during the interruption of his more earnest endeavors in political employment, was born in Milston, Wiltshire, on May 1, 1672. After attending for a year the Charterhouse school (at the same time as Richard Steele), he matriculated Queen's at fifteen and resided at Magdalen College, Oxford (B.A. 1691, M.A. 1693). He accomplishes the famous participation with Steele in the periodicals The Taller, The Spectator, and The Guardian, as well as completion of his tragedy Cato, during the four years he is out of office between the loss of position of Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and his appointment to the Secretaryship to the Lords Justices in 1714.

Once the first of a continuous series of Whig administrations resumes power in that year, Addison's success in appointments culminates in his promotion to Secretary of State for eleven months in 1717-1718. He is a moderate Whig, and his early reactions to the more extreme prejudices in his party against the Church attract Tory friends such as Jonathan Swift. But he is ultimately an ambiguous personality. There is a complete absence in his surviving correspondence of any letter he might have sent to or received from his father, brothers, or his wife. (Someone, on the other hand, troubles to save the unpublished correspondence to The Tatler and The Spectator.) It might be tempting to give the character of him by Alexander Pope in the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot (1734) a lot of credit. Pope, in fact, sent that character to Addison himself in 1716 as a passage in a fragmentary draft; there he is already the timorous literary arbiter who would “Damn with faint Praise, ” could “without sneering, teach the rest to sneer” (in which Pope would later substitute “Atticus” for Addison's initials in the finished poem). Another depiction by Pope, as recorded in Spence's Anecdotes, a neglected mine of information on Addison, is less tendentious. He

was perfect good company with intimates, and had something more charming in his conversation than I ever knew in any other man. But with any mixture of strangers, and sometimes

-1-

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The Age of Milton: An Encyclopedia of Major 17th-Century British and American Authors
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Timeline of Major 17th-Century British and American Authors xvii
  • (1672-1719) 1
  • (1555-1626) 6
  • (1666-1731) 10
  • (1626-1697) 14
  • (1561-1626) 19
  • Bibliography 23
  • (1640?-1689) 25
  • (1649-1708) 29
  • (1627-1691) 32
  • Bibliography 38
  • (1612-1672) 39
  • Bibliography 41
  • (1605-1682) 42
  • Bibliography 47
  • (1628-1688) 48
  • (1577-1640) 53
  • (1612/1613-1680) 57
  • Bibliography 60
  • (1567-1620) 61
  • Bibliography 64
  • (C. 1595-1639) 65
  • (C. 1585-1639) 68
  • (1623-1673) 71
  • Bibliography 73
  • (1559?-1634) 74
  • (1656-1710) 78
  • Bibliography 80
  • (1613-1658) 81
  • (1653-1713) 85
  • (1618-1667) 89
  • Bibliography 92
  • (C. 1613-1649) 93
  • Bibliography 96
  • (1599-1658) 98
  • (1606-1668) 103
  • (1658-1734) 109
  • Bibliography 111
  • (1572-1631) 112
  • (1563-1631) 118
  • Bibliography 121
  • (1631-1700) 122
  • (1608-1666) 128
  • (1661-1720) 133
  • Bibliography 136
  • (1582-1650) 137
  • (1586-1639?) 139
  • (1563-1639 and 1593-1652/1653) 144
  • Bibliography 146
  • (1554-1628) 147
  • Bibliography 157
  • (1578-1657) 158
  • (1593-1633) 162
  • (1591-1674) 167
  • (1588-1679) 172
  • (1572/1573-1637) 181
  • (1660-1685) 187
  • (1666-1727) 191
  • (C. 1634-1693) 194
  • (1569?-1645) 198
  • (1615-1657) 202
  • Bibliography 205
  • (1632-1704) 206
  • (1618-1657) 216
  • Bibliography 218
  • (1672?-1724) 219
  • Bibliography 222
  • (1621-1678) 223
  • Bibliography 226
  • (1583-1640) 228
  • Bibliography 231
  • (1580-1627) 232
  • (1608-1674) 237
  • (1652-1685) 244
  • (1633-1703) 248
  • (1632-1694) 253
  • Bibliography 258
  • (1659-1695) 260
  • Bibliography 265
  • (1686-1758) 267
  • (1606-1669) 270
  • Bibliography 273
  • (1647-1680) 274
  • (C. 1637-1711) 280
  • (1577-1640) 283
  • (C. 1642-1692) 287
  • (1671-1713) 292
  • (1564-1616) 296
  • (1632-1677) 312
  • (1608/1609-1642) 316
  • (1652-1715) 320
  • Bibliography 323
  • (1578-1653) 324
  • (1575?-1626) 328
  • (1636?-1674) 332
  • (1599-1641) 336
  • Bibliography 339
  • (1621?-1695) 340
  • (1599-1660) 344
  • (1632-1675) 348
  • (1606-1687) 352
  • Bibliography 354
  • (1579?-1633?) 355
  • (1568-1635) 360
  • (1641-1715) 365
  • List of Authors by Birth Year 373
  • Selected General Bibliography 377
  • Index 379
  • About the Editor and Contributors 389
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