Joseph Warton Criticism - Essay

William Lyon Phelps (essay date 1893)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Phelps, William Lyon. The Beginnings of the English Romantic Movement: A Study in Eighteenth Century Literature, pp. 89-93. Boston: Ginn and Company, 1893.

[In the following excerpt, Phelps argues that Joseph Warton is amongst the earliest Romantic writers, and reads selections from his poetry.]

Joseph Warton (1722-1800) is one of the most important names in the history of English Romanticism.1

From the start his sympathy was wholly with the new movement. He sprang enthusiastically into the ranks, burning his bridges in the most reckless manner. In his prose writings he showed himself to be what few men were at that time—a...

(The entire section is 1213 words.)

Edmund Gosse (essay date 1915)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Gosse, Edmund. “Two Pioneers of Romanticism: Joseph and Thomas Warton.” In Proceedings of the British Academy: 1915-1916, pp. 145-63. Nendeln/Liechtenstein, Germany: Kraus Reprint, 1976.

[In the following lecture, originally presented in 1915, Gosse examines what Thomas and Joseph Warton found stimulating in poetry available during their childhood and what they disapproved of in the popular contemporary verse of their adulthoods. The critic offers close readings of several of their works, including Joseph Warton's The Enthusiast and his Essay on Pope.]

The origins of the Romantic Movement in literature have been examined so closely and so often that...

(The entire section is 8218 words.)

William Darnall MacClintock (essay date 1933)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: MacClintock, William Darnall. “The Essay on Pope: Origin, Significance, Reception.” In his Joseph Warton's Essay on Pope: A History of the Five Editions, pp. 3-33. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press, 1933.

[In the following excerpt, MacClintock provides an extensive examination of Joseph Warton's Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope, discussing its composition, the process of its publication, and its reception by and significance to contemporary literary studies and popular literary tastes.]


Historians of culture agree that an...

(The entire section is 8750 words.)

Philip Mahone Griffith (essay date 1965)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Griffith, Philip Mahone. “Joseph Warton's Criticism of Shakespeare.” TSE: Tulane Studies in English 14 (1965): 17-27.

[In the following essay, Griffith explores Joseph Warton's criticism of Shakespeare, which appeared in the form of five essays in the Adventurer, arguing that Warton's criticism is representative of the contemporary trends in Shakespearean criticism.]

Joseph Warton's five papers on Shakespeare, contributed to the Adventurer between September 25, 1753, and January 5, 1754, have received perhaps more persistent notice from literary historians than any other essays in the entire journal. Like most of Warton's literary criticism,...

(The entire section is 4814 words.)

Joan Pittock (essay date 1967)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Pittock, Joan. “Joseph Warton and his Second Volume of the Essay on Pope.Review of English Studies 18, no. 71 (August 1967): 264-73.

[In the following essay, Pittock considers the reasons for the 26 year gap between the first and second editions of Joseph Warton's influential Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope.]

Many suggestions have been put forward by critics of Joseph Warton to account for his long delay in issuing the second volume of his Essay on Pope. While Johnson attributed the non-appearance of the second volume to Warton's disappointment at the reception of the first, Chalmers accounted for the twenty-six-year gap by...

(The entire section is 4427 words.)

Philip Mahone Griffith (essay date 1969)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Griffith, Philip Mahone. “A Short View of Joseph Warton's Criticism of Milton.” In Papers on Milton, edited by Philip Mahone Griffith and Lester F. Zimmerman, pp. 25-35. Tulsa, Oklahoma: The University of Tulsa, 1969.

[In the following essay, Griffith briefly examines Joseph Warton's life and his brother's influence on his critical interpretation of Milton.]

Joseph Warton (1722-1800) was the son of the Rev. Thomas Warton (1688-1745), Professor of Poetry at Oxford and pre-romantic poet, and the elder brother of Thomas Warton the Younger, also Professor of Poetry at Oxford and historian of English poetry. Joseph added greatly to his family's distinction by...

(The entire section is 4055 words.)

David B. Morris (essay date 1971)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Morris, David B. “Joseph Warton's Figure of Virtue: Poetic Indirection in The Enthusiast.Philological Quarterly 50 (1971): 678-83.

[In the following essay, Morris examines Warton's use of his translation of Virgil in his poem The Enthusiast for the significance of departing virtue on his conception of nature and imagination.]

Toward the end of Joseph Warton's youthful, bookish poem The Enthusiast or The Lover of Nature (1744), the poet suddenly encounters a train of “awful forms.”1 Sharp-eyed Philosophy, virgin Solitude, and hoary Wisdom pass by; then the parade of abstractions concludes with the figures of Virtue and...

(The entire section is 2195 words.)

Joan Pittock (essay date 1973)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Pittock, Joan. “Poetry Versus Good Sense: Joseph Warton and the Reaction Against Pope.” In her The Ascendancy of Taste: The Achievement of Joseph and Thomas Warton, pp. 122-66. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973.

[In the following excerpt, Pittock considers Joseph Warton's poetic style, his critical theories, and his seminal work on Pope, its influence on his contemporaries, and its influence on subsequent generations of writers and literary critics.]


In chapter i of Biographia Literaria Coleridge considers the relevance of poetry to his own development. He explicitly relates his awareness of true poetry to the work of...

(The entire section is 15151 words.)

Joan Pittock (essay date 1977)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Pittock, Joan. Introduction to Odes on Various Subjects (1746) by Joseph Warton, pp. v-xiv. Delmar, New York: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1977.

[In the following essay, Pittock examines Joseph Warton's Odes on Various Subjects, its composition and publishing history, and the influence of Warton's brother Thomas, who contributed in part to the publication, and his friend William Collins, who also wrote a collection of odes.]

An advertisement in the London Evening Post for Saturday, 29 November 1746 announced the imminent publication of Odes on Various Subjects by Joseph Warton, A.B. of Oriel College, Oxon. The publisher was Robert...

(The entire section is 2600 words.)

Edward J. Rielly (essay date 1986)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Rielly, Edward J. “Joseph Warton, ‘Genuine Poesy,’ and the American Indian: The Search for a Poetic Ideal.” Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature 40, no. 1-2 (1986): 35-47.

[In the following essay, Rielly considers Joseph Warton's aesthetic ideals of the sublime and the pathetic, and connects his poetic theory to the Native American Indian, who, in Warton's mind represented the primitivism that belongs to true and natural poetry.]

The poetic world of the mid-eighteenth century was still heavily mimetic, with the poet looking in a variety of places for a poetic model to imitate or an ideal to champion. At the same time, the primitive urge, so...

(The entire section is 5159 words.)

Hugh Reid (essay date 1990)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Reid, Hugh. “The Printing of Joseph Warton's Odes.Papers of the Bibliographic Society of America 84, no. 2 (June 1990): 151-56.

[In the following excerpt, Reid looks at Joseph Warton's Odes and argues that while some considered that the volume went into a second edition a sign of its poetic merit, there were other factors motivating the second edition.]

In literary history Joseph Warton is chiefly remembered for his Essay on Pope, the first volume of which was published only twelve years after the poet's death and which began a reexamination and reevaluation of Pope's works. Its publication marks a convenient place from which to view...

(The entire section is 2326 words.)

Trevor Ross (essay date 1997)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Ross, Trevor. “‘Pure Poetry’: Cultural Capital and the Rejection of Classicism.” Modern Language Quarterly 58, no. 4 (December 1997): 437-57.

[In the following essay, Ross employs Pierre Bourdieu's economic theories to argue that the anti-classicist revolution set in motion by Joseph Warton's Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope is an attempt to define the function of culture, or the cultural field, whose autonomy had been increasingly driven by politics and economic exchange at the expense of poetics and art.]

Less than a decade after his death, Alexander Pope's preeminence in the English canon began to be challenged by polemicists hoping to...

(The entire section is 8035 words.)