Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name





Steele, Richard, Sir, 1672-1729; Social reformers--Ireland--History


Because the critics of the eighteenth century admired form more than thought, Sir Richard Steele has been sadly neglected and all honours have been heaped upon his literary partner, Joseph Addison. Slowly the readers of the twentieth century are beginning to realize that Steele had all the originality, while Addison had nothing but polish. It is to present a few of the astoundingly original and influential ideas of Steele that this paper has been written. To the best of my knowledge after some extended search, the reforms of Richard Steele have not been treated, at least not in the manner nor to the extent with which they are expounded herein. Because of this, the material of my paper has been drawn in the main from a very careful reading of the fifteen hundred papers, plays, and treatises which form Steele’s literary heritage. The search has been profoundly interesting, but it has been necessary to plow through many an unrelated subject in order to find a sentence which dealt with reform. The knowledge gained thereby will, I hope, not be wasted. It is therefore with the feelings of a returned explorer that I present this report to the vulgar gaze. With it goes the hope that it may lessen the labours of some future student of the eighteenth century.