Presentation on theme: "Lecture 7 Joseph Addison (1st hour) Richard Steele (2nd hour)"— Presentation transcript:
Lecture 7 Joseph Addison (1st hour) Richard Steele (2nd hour)
Steele and "The Tatler: Richard Steele ( ) was born in Dublin in the same year as Addison, and was educated with him at the same school. Afterward they went to Oxford together. So they became great friends and shared everything with each other. But unlike Addison. who was cold and reserved. Steele was impulsive and affectionate. He left the university to enter the Horse Guards. Then he was in turn soldier, captain, poet, playwright, essayist, member of Parliament, manager of a theatre, publisher of a newspaper, and many other things -as all of which he worked joyously.
By the beginning of 18th century, coffeehouses became the most striking feature of London life. The middle class citizens tended to assemble in these resorts to seek the pleasures of conversation and news. Thus, coffeehouses gave them a means of exchanging ideas, forming public opinion and propagating new thoughts. Steele was himself a frequenter of coffeehouses. In 1709, he started a paper, “The Tatler", to enlighten, as well as to entertain, his fellow coffeehouse-goers.
In order to carry on his social criticism more effectively, Steele wrote under the pseudonym of" Isaac Bickerstaff, a character borrowed from Swift. Bickerstaff is an eccentric old recluse living a lonely and mysterious life. His isolation enables him to study” his fellow-creatures dispassionately. Steele put his moral counsels into the mouth of Bickerstaff and gradually invested this character with a vivid personality, making his essays light and in. formal. Another form of expression which Steele used frequently was the correspondence he received Or pretended to receive, by which he kept an intimate touch with his readers. Then in confliction with Addison he ran another paper "The Spectator" during This was followed by three other papers. He was appointed manager of Drury Lane Theatre in He established the "Theatre", a bi- weekly which continued until 1720.
II. Addison and "The Spectator Joseph Addison ( ), the son of a scholarly clergyman, was educated at Charterhouse School and then at Oxford University, both with Steele. He was a distinguished Latin scholar and led a prosperous life. After graduation, he travelled on the European Continent from 1699 to 1703, with a view to qualifying for the diplomatic service. In 1704, he published The Campaign", a poem in heroic couplets, in celebration of the British victory at Blenheim. It took the country by storm, and from then on Addison rose steadily in political office.
Between 1709 and 1711 he contributed a number of papers to "The Tatler". Then he collaborated with Steele in publishing "The Spectator" in His tragedy "Cato” was produced with much success in In 1716 he married a widow, the Countess of Warwick. But the married life lasted only three years, and was probably not a happy one. So he became more and more a clubman, spending most of his time in the clubs and coffeehouses in London. He retired from Office in 1718 and died serenely in 1719.
“The spectator” was a daily paper, publishing one essay every day. It was supposed to be edited by a small club headed by Mt. Spectator, including mainly Sir Roger de Coverley, a country squire, Sir Andrew Freeport, a, wealthy merchant, Captain Sentry, a retired armyman, and Will Honeycomb, a gentleman of fashionable society in town. Mr. Spectator himself is a man of travel find learning, who frequents London as an observer. The essays published in "The Spectator" deal with the customs, manners, morals, literature and other current topics of the time. These topics are treated in a light and pleasant manner, not formally, not seriously, and never severely.
Among the most striking features of the paper are the character sketches of Mr. Spectator and the members of his club, and the short stories or episodes about them. Mr. Spectator is the type of a new culture. He is profoundly learned, being acquainted with all celebrated books in ancient and modern tongues. Moreover, he has travelled in many countries in search of knowledge. He spends his life in observing his contemporaries and comparing their manners, customs and ideas with those of which he has read.
Besides Mr. Spectator, Addison and Steele also portrayed the other members of the club, each of whom has his own individuality and destiny. The first is Sir Roger de Coverley, a man of strong intelligence and physical vigour and full of enthusiasm for life. which is temporarily blasted by a love affair. But he does not become listless, but always overflows with hiving-kindness to his family and neighbours. There is Captain Sentry, a man of unquestioned energy, ability and personal courage. He has retired from the army because he lacks the gift of self advertisement. Yet he does not spend his time in complaining of others, but has withdrawn good-humouredly to a life of leisurely obscurity.
In the daily essays of "The Spectator", these characters frequently appear and reappear and do such things as Occur every day. Sir Roger comes up to town, goes with the Spectator on the water to Spring Gardens and walks among the tombs in Westminster Abbey, Then the Spectator pays a visit to Coverley’s hall, eats a fish caught by Will Honeycomb, and hears a point of law discussed. At last a letter brings the news that Sir Roger is dead. The club breaks up and, the Spectator resigns his functions. such events are related with so much truth, humour and knowledge of the world that they charm the readers. These character sketches are the forerunner of the English novel but they do not form a novel.
Steele and Addison wrote in different styles, Steele took very little pains with his language: He was very busy. He wrote as he pleased, right from his heart. His style is intimate, easy-going and careless. But Addison was a careful writer and a great stylist. He created a perfect style-lucid, colloquial full of individuality and yet refined by that choice of words which he had cultivated in writing Latin verse. It could win the approval of the scholars by virtue of its correctness and at the same time could be well understood by the middle class readers and even by people of little culture “owing to its simplicity. Addison’s Spectator essays were looked upon as the model of English composition by British authors all through the 18th century. Dr. Johnson thus praised Addison’s style: “ Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and eloquent but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the study of Addison.”
Steele and Addison’s contribution to the “English literature”. 1 ． Their writings afford a new code of social morality or the rising bourgeoisie. 2. They give a true picture of the social life of England in the 18th-century. 3. In the hands of Addison and Steele, the English essay had completely established itself as a literary genre, Using it as a form of character sketching and story-telling, they ushered in the dawn of modern English novel.
A COUNTRY SUNDAY. I am always very well pleased with a country Sunday, and think, if keeping holy the seventh day were only a human institution, it would be the best method that could have been thought of for the polishing and civilizing of mankind. It is certain the country people would soon degenerate into a kind of savages and barbarians, were there not such frequent returns of a stated time, in which the whole village meet together with their best faces, and in their cleanliest habits, to converse with one another upon indifferent subjects, hear their duties explained to them, and join together in adoration of the Supreme Being.
Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week, not only as it refreshes in their minds the notions of religion, but as it puts both the sexes upon appearing in their most agreeable forms, and exerting all such qualities as are apt to give them a figure in the eye of the village. A country-fellow distinguishes himself as much in the Church- yard, as a citizen does upon the Change, the whole parish-politicks being generally discussed in that place either after sermon or before the bell rings.
My friend Sir Roger, being a good churchman, has beautified the inside of his church with several texts of his own choosing. He has likewise given a handsome pulpit-cloth, and railed in the communion-table at his own expense. He has often told me, that at his coming to his estate he found his parishioners very irregular; and that in order to make them kneel and join in their responses, he gave every one of them a hassock and a common prayer-book: and at the same time employed an itinerant singing- master, who goes about the country for that purpose, to instruct them rightly in the tunes of the psalms; upon which they now very much value themselves, and indeed outdo most of the country churches that I have ever heard.
As Sir Roger is landlord to the whole congregation, he keeps them in very good order, and will suffer nobody to sleep in it besides himself; for if by chance he has been surprised into a short nap at sermon, upon recovering out of it he stands up and looks about him, and if he sees any body else nodding, either wakes them himself, or sends his servants to them. Several other of the old Knight’s particularities break out upon these occasions. Sometimes he will be lengthening out a verse in the singing- psalms, half a minute after the rest of the congregation have done with it; sometimes, when he is pleased with the matter of his devotion, he pronounces Amen three or four times to the same prayer; and sometimes stands up when every body else is upon their knees, to count the congregation, or see if any of his tenants are missing.
I was yesterday very much surprised to hear my old friend, in the midst of the service, calling out to one John Mathews to mind what he was about, and not disturb the congregation. This John Mathews it seems is remarkable for being an idle fellow, and at that time was kicking his heels for his diversion. This authority of the Knight, though exerted in that odd manner which accompanies him in all circumstances of life, has a very good effect upon the parish, who are not polite enough to see anything ridiculous in his behaviour; besides that the general good sense and worthiness of his character makes his friends observe these little singularities as foils that rather set off than blemish his good qualities.
As soon as the sermon is finished, no body presumes to stir till Sir Roger is gone out of the church. The Knight walks down from his seat in the chancel between a double row of his tenants, that stand bowing to him on each side; and every now and then enquires how such an one’s wife, or mother, or son, or father do, whom he does not see at church; which is understood as a secret reprimand to the person that is absent. The chaplain has often told me, that upon a catechizing day, when Sir Roger has been pleased with a boy that answers well, he has ordered a Bible to be given him next day for his encouragement; and sometimes accompanies it with a flitch of bacon to his mother. Sir Roger has likewise added five pounds a year to the clerk’s place; and that he may encourage the young fellows to make themselves perfect in the church service, has promised upon the death of the present incumbent, who is very old, to bestow it according to merit.
The fair understanding between Sir Roger and his chaplain, and their mutual concurrence in doing good, is the more remarkable, because the very next village is famous for the differences and contentions that rise between the parson and the squire, who live in a perpetual state of war. The parson is always preaching at the squire, and the squire to be revenged on the parson never comes to church. The squire has made all his tenants atheists and tithe-stealers; while the Parson instructs them every Sunday in the dignity of his order, and insinuates to them in almost every sermon, that he is a better man than his patron. In short, matters are come to such an extremity, that the squire has not said his prayers either in publick or private this half year; and that the parson threatens him, if he does not mend his manners, to pray for him in the face of the whole congregation.
Feuds of this nature, though too frequent in the country, are very fatal to the ordinary people; who are so used to be dazzled with riches, that they pay as much deference to the understanding of a man of an estate, as of a man of learning; and are very hardly brought to regard any truth, how important soever it may be, that is preached to them, when they know there are several men of five hundred a year who do not believe it.