Joseph Addison

Adam James Smith (York St John University)
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Joseph Addison’s most significant contribution to literary history is undoubtedly his collaboration with Richard Steele on

The Spectator

(1711-12). Addison was also a poet and a playwright, finding success in theatres with the universally praised


(1713). Though a convincing polymath, Addison was most accomplished as a writer and is remembered for his criticism and commentary.

Addison was born in Milston, Wiltshire, on 1 May 1672. His parents were Lancelot Addison (1632-1703), vicar of Milston, and Jane (née Gulston) (c. 1635-1684), sister to the future Bishop of Bristol. Joseph had three younger siblings: Gulston (1673-1709), Dorothy (born 1674) and Lancelot (1680-1710). Little is known of Dorothy, other than that she was twice married. Both brothers would eventually die in India,

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Citation: Smith, Adam James. "Joseph Addison". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 October 2016 [, accessed 17 April 2024.]

36 Joseph Addison 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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