About the work…
In his and Richard Steele's The Spectator,  Addison developed an essay style which greatly influenced the writings in eighteenth-century periodicals. In the short well known passages in our readings on the pleasures of the imagination, Addison clearly notes some first suggestions towards an ęsthetic theory. His contribution represents a shift in emphasis from the creations of the artist to the pleasures of the connoisseur. Addison's essays had great appeal to the rising middle class seeking to improve their refinement and taste in the arts. Samuel Johnson praised his work, "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."
How does Addison distinguish among the pleasures of the imagination, the pleasures of the senses, and the pleasures of the understanding?
What qualities of objects in the world does Addison list which occasion pleasures of the imagination?
What two kinds of beauty does Addison describe?
What, according to Addison, is a final cause of ęsthetic pleasure? Why has the Supreme Being created mankind with the capacity of experiencing pleasure from the greatness, novelty, humanness, and the sensation of objects in the world?
How does Addison relate the beauty of art to the beauty of nature?
Joseph Addison, The Spectator. London: George Routledge and Sons, Ltd. 1891. Letters 411-413.