Joseph Addison – Tercentary essay – Frédéric Ogée’s contribution: : ‘Nature and Imagination: The Posterity of Addison’s ‘Pleasures’ in British Enlightenment Culture’.

Posted on November 26, 2021

Professor Frédéric Ogée is specialist of British literature and art history. In 2006 he curated an exhibition on English painter William Hogarth for the Louvre, and has written numerous books, including Les paysages absolus (Hazan, 2010) on J.M.W.Turner. He is currently writing a monograph on portrait painter Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), editing an anthology of artists’ writings entitled Truth and British Art, 1700-1945.


Joseph Addison: Tercentenary Essays is a collection of fifteen essays by a team of internationally recognized experts specially commissioned to commemorate the three hundredth anniversary of Addison’s death in 2019. Almost exclusively known now as the inventor and main author of The Spectator, probably the most widely read and imitated prose work of the eighteenth century, Addison also produced important and influential work across a broad gamut of other literary modes—poems, verse translations, literary criticism, periodical journalism, drama, opera, travel writing. Much of this work is little known nowadays even in specialist academic circles; Addison is often described as the most neglected of the eighteenth century’s major writers.

This volume is the first collection to address the full range and variety of Addison’s career and writings. Its fifteen chapters fall into three groupings: the first set study Addison’s work in modes other than the literary periodical (poetry, translation, travel writing, drama); the second set address The Spectator from a variety of disciplinary perspectives (literary-critical, sociological and political, bibliographical); and the final set explore Addison’s reception within several cultural spheres (philosophy, horticulture, art history), by individual writers or across larger historical periods (the Romantic age, the Victorian age), and in Britain and Europe, especially France. The volume provides an overdue and appropriately diverse memorial to one of the dominant men of letters of the Georgian era.

Edited by Paul Davis, Professor of English, University College London

Paul Davis is Professor of English at University College London, where he has taught since 1997. He is the author of Translation and the Poet’s Life (Oxford University Press, 2008), and has edited Rochester: Selected Poems (Oxford University Press, 2013). He is general editor of the forthcoming Oxford University Press edition of Addison’s Non-Periodical Works in 5 volumes, and volume editor for the Poems and Translations.

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