Title

Joseph Addison’s Lucretian Imagination

Abstract

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.

Publisher

John Hopkins University Press

Publication Date

12-5-2017

Publication Title

ELH

Department

English

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1353/elh.2017.0034

Language

English

Format

text

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