Joseph Addison’s Lucretian Imagination
This essay argues for the haunting presence of Titus Lucretius Carus in Joseph Addison's aesthetics. Two of the ten essays in the series on the pleasures of the imagination present marginal citations from De rerum natura. I use these epigraphs, as well as the discussion of Lucretius in Spectator number 110, to reconstruct the role of Lucretius for Addison's account of the imagination. Inspired by the literary performance of the Roman poet, Addison conceives the imagination as a faculty that naturalizes self-possession. Lucretius thus plays a vital role in Addison's defense of John Locke's fragile invention, the modern liberal subject.
Baudot, Laura. 2017. “Joseph Addison’s Lucretian Imagination.” ELH 84(4): 891-918.
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