Richard Steele Bibliography

The Christian Hero 1701
Steele’s first major publication which drew on his experience of the ‘irregularity’ of army life to convey the view that only the religious man can find greatness.
The Funeral 1701
Steele’s first comedy, acted at Drury Lane with “more than expected success.”
The Lying Lover 1703
One of the first sentimental comedies which only ran for six nights, being, claimed Steele, “damned for its piety.”
The Tender Husband 1705
Written with the help of Addison, Steele’s third play enjoyed moderate success.
The Tatler 1709
Thrice weekly paper, published between 12 April, 1709 and 2 January, 1711. In the dedication of the first collected volume (1712-15), Addison wrote: “The general purpose of this paper is to expose the false arts of life, to pull off the disguises of cunning, vanity, and affectation, and to recommend a general simplicity in our dress, our discourse , and our behaviour.” The aim of Addison and Steele was life not politics; as Addison once asked: “Is it not much better to be let into the knowledge of one’s self, than to hear what passes in Muscovy or Poland?”

The essays in the paper were dated from different coffeehouses, so that Steele, who wrote under the name “Issac Bickerstaff”, a name which had been made famous by Swift, could cover most aspects of fashionable life. Addison began to contribute with the 18th number and wrote about 46 papers, while 36 were written jointly, with Steele writing the bulk of the 271 issues.
The Spectator 1711
Periodical which appeared between 1 March, 1711and 6 December 1712, and revived by Addison for 24 numbers from 18 June to 29 September, 1714. Joseph Addison wrote half of the 555 papers, covering social satire and literary criticism.

In the famous tenth number Addison wrote clearly about his aims for his readers: “I shall spare no Pains to make their Instruction agreeable, and their Diversion useful. For which Reasons I shall endeavour to enliven Morality with Wit, and to temper Wit with Morality . . . It was said of Socrates, that he brought Philosophy down from Heaven, to inhabit among Men; and I shall be ambitious to have it said of me, that I have brought Philosophy out of the Closets and Libraries, Schools and Colleges, to dwell in Clubs and Assemblies, at Tea-tables, and in Coffee-houses”.

Addison wished to bring people together for reasonable discussion. He found extreme party politics distasteful; in No. 125 he wrote, “there cannot a greater judgement befall a country than such a dreadful spirit of division as rends a government into two distinct peoples and makes them greater strangers and more averse to one another than if they were actually two different nations.”

Addison’s essays on the pleasures of the imagination, which constituted eleven number of the Spectator, became famous and were extremely influential during the 18th century and left their mark on Hume, Voltaire and Kant. “We cannot indeed have a single Image in the Fancy that did not make its first Entrance through the Sight; but we have the Power of retaining, altering and compounding those Images, which we have once received, into all the varieties of Picture and Vision that are most agreeable to the Imagination.” (No. 411) “The very Life and highest Perfection of Poetry has something in it like Creation; It bestows a kind of Existence, and draws up to the Reader’s View, several Objects which are not to be found in Being.” (No. 421)
The Guardian 1713
Periodical published between 12 March and 1 October, 1713, to which Addison contributed 51 numbers.
Mr. Steele’s Apology for Himself and His Writings 1714
Political Writings 1715
Collection of essays and pamphlets which caused controversary.
The Conscious Lovers 1722
Steele’s last and most successful comedy, performed at Drury Lane, where Steele was made a commissioner in 1714, and considered to be his finest play.