CfP: Addison and Europe Back

CFP: Addison and Europe

Conference, December 7-8, 2018,

Université Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle (Prismes EA4398)

In partnership with Karl-Franzens Universität, Graz


Even though Dr Johnson considered Addison’s style as the quintessence of literary Englishness, it would be wrong to consider the commemoration of the tercentenary of Joseph Addison’s death – and subsequently the release of the forthcoming edition of Addison’s complete works by OUP , as a purely British event. As a traveller who did the Grand Tour and as a Secretary of States in charge of southern European affairs, Addison had a keen knowledge of European culture and politics. He was also one of the major English writers to gain an early literary reputation on the European continent. In his lifetime already he was famous across the Channel for writing his poem ‘The Campaign’, his Remarks on Italy, his tragedy Cato, and his periodical essays (The Spectator and The Guardian). These were translated and imitated in many countries throughout the eighteenth century. Thus, by 1750, Jaucourt, a French Protestant and one of the main contributors to the Encyclopédie praised Addison for being ‘one of the best writers of his century’ and ‘a friend of mankind’. 

Yet Addison’s prestige in Europe and the European interest for Addison definitely declined after 1900. According to Bonamy Dobree, twentieth–century readers no longer understood how his admiration for classical culture could be marred by his chauvinism and his rejection of Catholicism. It was not until the 1980s, that there was renewed interest for Addison’s legacy to the continent. Still even today, despite fruitful studies largely focusing on the European network of Spectators and on the development of the essay genre, Addison’s role in the European enlightenment has remained largely untouched.

This conference therefore invites scholars from all disciplines (history, literature, philosophy, religion, translation) to explore the relationship Addison, both as a statesman and as a writer, entertained with the continent. Its aim is to examine in what ways continental culture influenced Addison and conversely, to start to reassess the impact made by Addison’s overall production and ideas on the political and cultural life of European countries in the eighteenth-century and beyond.


Proposals are invited on topics related to the theme of the conference including ( but not limited to)

– Addison’s networks on the continent

– The significance of continental culture for Addison

– The reception of Addison’s works in various European countries

– The translation of his works

– The impact of Addison’s works on the development of various literary genres throughout Europe

– The impact of his theories about aesthetics, sciences, religion, economics, gardens, music, numismatics, etc, throughout Europe

– the perception, representations of, or even reactions to Joseph Addison from the 18th century until the 20th century (Joseph Addison as a statesman, a writer, a philosopher, a humourist, an Englishman, an enlightened man, etc. . . .)


Deadline for submission : 200-word abstracts, with a short biography of no more than 100 words, should be submitted as an email attachment to or to by September 15th, 2018.