Cato A Tragedy, and Selected Essays

ISBN-10: 0865974438

ISBN-13: 9780865974432

Edition: 2004

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Description: "A day, an hour, of virtuous liberty is worth a whole eternity in bondage." -- Joseph Addison, Cato 1713. Joseph Addison was born in 1672 in Milston, Wiltshire, England. He was educated in the classics at Oxford and became widely known as an essayist, playwright, poet, and statesman. First produced in 1713, Cato, A Tragedy inspired generations toward a pursuit of liberty. Liberty Fund's new edition of Cato: A Tragedy, and Selected Essays brings together Addison's dramatic masterpiece along with a selection of his essays that develop key themes in the play. Cato, A Tragedy is the account of the final hours of Marcus Porcius Cato (95-46BC), a Stoic whose deeds, rhetoric, and resistance to the tyranny of Caesar made him an icon of republicanism, virtue, and liberty. By all accounts, Cato was an uncompromisingly principled man, deeply committed to liberty. He opposed Caesar's tyrannical assertion of power and took arms against him. As Caesar's forces closed in on Cato, he chose to take his life, preferring death by his own hand to a life of submission to Caesar. Addison's theatrical depiction of Cato enlivened the glorious image of a citizen ready to sacrifice everything in the cause of freedom, and it influenced friends of liberty on both sides of the Atlantic. Captain Nathan Hale's last words before being hanged were, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country," a close paraphrase of Addison's "What pity is it that we can die but once to serve our country!" George Washington found Cato such a powerful statement of liberty, honor, virtue, and patriotism that he had it performed for his men at Valley Forge. And Forrest McDonald says in his Foreword that "Patrick Henry adapted his famous 'Give me liberty or give me death' speech directly from lines in Cato." Despite Cato's enormous success, Addison was perhaps best-known as an essayist. In periodicals like the Spectator, Guardian, Tatler, and Freeholder, he sought to educate England's developing middle class in the habits, morals, and manners he believed necessary for the preservation of a free society. Addison's work in these periodicals helped to define the modern English essay form. Samuel Johnson said of his writing, "Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the study of Addison."

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Book details

List price: $14.50
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: Liberty Fund, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/1/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 308
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.364
Language: English

Addison, son of the Dean of Litchfield, took high honors at Oxford University and then joined the British army. He first came to literary fame by writing a poem, "The Campaign" (1704), to celebrate the Battle of Blenheim. When Richard Steele, whom he had known in his public school Charterhouse, started The Tatler in 1709, Addison became a regular contributor. But his contributions to a later venture The Spectator (generally considered the zenith of the periodical essay), were fundamental. While Steele can be credited with the editorial direction of the journal, Addison's essays, ranging from gently satiric to genuinely funny, secured the journal's success. In The Spectator, No. 10, Addison declared that the journal aimed "to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality." His brilliant character of Sir Roger de Coverley (followed from rake to reformation) distinguishes the most popular essays. Addison died in 1719. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Christine Dunn Henderson received her PhD from Boston College and has taught at Merrimack College and Marshall University. Christine is a Fellow at Liberty Fund.

Foreword by Forrest McDonald
Cato, A Tragedy
Selected Essays
Tatler 161 ( April 20, 1710)
Tatler 162 (April 22, 1710)
Whig Examiner 5 (October 12, 1710)
Spectator 55 (May 3, 1711)
Spectator 125 (July 24, 1711)
Spectator 169 (September 13, 1711)
Spectator 215 (November 6, 1711)
Spectator 219 (November 10, 1711)
Spectator 231 (November 24, 1711)
Spectator 237 (December 1, 1711)
Spectator 243 (December 8, 1711)
Spectator 255 (December 22, 1711)
Spectator 256 (December 24, 1711)
Spectator 257 (December 25, 1711)
Spectator 287 (January 29, 1712)
Spectator 293 (February 5, 1712)
Spectator 349 (April 10, 1712)
Spectator 446 (August 1, 1712)
Spectator 557 (June 21, 1712)
Guardian 99 (July 4, 1713)
Guardian 161 (September 15, 1713)
Freeholder 1 (December 23, 1715)
Freeholder 2 (December 26, 1715)
Freeholder 5 (January 6, 1716)
Freeholder 10 (January 23, 1716)
Freeholder 12 (January 30, 1716)
Freeholder 13 (February 3, 1716)
Freeholder 16 (February 13, 1716)
Freeholder 29 (March 30, 1716)
Freeholder 34 (April 16, 1716)
Freeholder 39 (May 4, 1716)
Freeholder 51 (June 15, 1716)
Appendix: Lewis Theobald's The Life and Character of Marcus Portius Cato Uticensis (1713)
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