Addison's Criticism and Critical Thinking

Walsh, M ORCID: 0000-0003-4130-6797
(2018) Addison's Criticism and Critical Thinking. In: Essays on Addison. Oxford University Press,Oxford.

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In the first half of the twentieth century Addison’s literary critical and theoretical works were understood as early formulations of a literary aesthetics, as important theoretical statements on wit and imagination, as pioneering exercises in the analysis and sponsorship of vernacular literary texts, as influential popularisations of philosophical ideas. These writings have in recent decades however been less regularly a subject of attention. Indeed, in the 1980s and 1990s, Addison’s essays in literary criticism and theory were often treated as though they were covert works of political ideology, as affirmations of ‘a hierarchic Chain of Seeing’. This essay takes Addison at his literary-critical word. It stresses the epistemological, rather than the sensational, elements in Addison’s critical theorising. In particular, it argues that Addison the critic was fundamentally concerned with recognisably Aristotelian pleasures of mimesis. As readers we take a double mimetic pleasure, not only from our recognition of literature’s imitations of the natural world, but also from our recognition of the contextual particulars—political, historical, literary, discursive—which inform writings of earlier times.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: association, wit, criticism, Milton, aesthetic, mimesis, Aristotle, imagination, allusion, metaphor
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2019 15:30
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2019 10:20
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