Reader's Encyclopedia

Addison, Joseph (1672 - 1719)

English poet, essayist, and critic. In association with Richard Steele, Addison perfected the essay as a literary form in his contributions to The Tatler and The Spectator. His prose style was the model for pure and elegant English until the end of the 18th century; his comments on manners and morals were widely influential in forming the middle - class ideal of a dispassionate, tolerant, Christian world - citizen. The Campaign (1704), celebrating the victory at Blenheim, and his hymn "The Spacious Firmament on High" (1712) are his most famous poems. His musical play Rosamond (1705) was an attack on popular Italian operas, and his blank-verse tragedy Cato (1713) was enormously popular, combining an appeal to the party - spirit of the Whigs and an avowed intention to purge the stage of immorality. Addison is bitterly attacked by Alexander Pope in the character of Atticus in Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot (1735).

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