INTRODUCTION No character in our literature, not even Mr. Pickwick, has more endeared himself to successive generations of readers than Addison’s Sir Roger de Coverley: there are many figures in drama and fiction of whom we feel that they are in a way personal friends of our own, that once introduced to us they remain a permanent part of our little world. It is the abiding glory of Dickens, it is one of Shakespeare’s abiding glories,... more...

INTRODUCTION When Richard Steele, in number 555 of his 'Spectator', signed its last paper and named those who had most helped him 'to keep up the spirit of so long and approved a performance,' he gave chief honour to one who had on his page, as in his heart, no name but Friend. This was 'the gentleman of whose assistance I formerly boasted in the Preface and concluding Leaf of my 'Tatlers'. I am indeed much more proud of his long-continued... more...

INTRODUCTION. The sixty-fourth volume of this Library contains those papers from the Tatler which were especially associated with the imagined character of Isaac Bickerstaff, who was the central figure in that series; and in the twenty-ninth volume there is a similar collection of papers relating to the Spectator Club and Sir Roger de Coverley, who was the central figure in Steele and Addison’s Spectator.  Those volumes contained, no... more...

AN ESSAY UPON WIT. The Inclinations of Men, in this their degenerate State, carry them with great Force to those voluptuous Objects, that please their Appetites and gratify their Senses; and which not only by their early Acquaintance and Familiarity, but as they are adapted to the prevailing Instincts of Nature, are more esteem'd and pursu'd than all other Satisfactions. As those inferior Enjoyments, that only affect the Organs of the Body are... more...

REMARKS. The author of this tragedy, to whose vigorous mind the English are indebted for their choicest moral works, came into the world with a frame so weak, that he was christened immediately on his birth, in consequence of the symptoms he gave of a speedy dissolution. The hand which reared him did a more than ordinary service to the age in which he lived, and to succeeding generations. Addison's pious writings, untainted by the rigour of... more...