Addison's 'Cato' and the transformation of republican discourse in the early eighteenth century

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Abstract

Addison’s play is read in this article against the context of Whig political thought and the re-emergence of a transformed republicanism that took place in the long eighteenth century. The approach taken throughout is interdisciplinary. The context of a revived republican discourse is traced from the mid-1650s. The argument made is that Addison was drawing on republican historiography and the emergent canon of English republican writing to warn his audience about the threat to liberty implicit in an unrestricted monarchy. In this respect the article takes its place in the current revival of critical and historical interest in Whig political writing in the long eighteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-108
JournalBritish Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003

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