Thomas Paine

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1678


Gimbel, Richard. A Bibliographical Check List of Common Sense with an Account of Its Publication. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1956, 124 p.

Comprehensive bibliography of the publication history of Common Sense and subsequent responses.

Lasser, Michael L. "In Response to The Age of Reason, 1794-1799." Bulletin of Bibliography and Magazine Notes 25, No. 2 (January-April 1967): 41-43.

Brief essay and extensive bibliography documenting the contemporary replies to Paine's religious work, The Age of Reason.

Pendleton, Gayle Trusdel. "Towards a Bibliography of the Reflections and Rights of Man Controversy." Bulletin of Research in the Humanities 85, No. 1 (Spring 1982): 65-KB.

Bibliography of the cited works, plus an essay suggesting the issues integral to a full-scale study of the debate between Paine and Burke.

Wilson, Jerome D. "Thomas Paine in America: An Annotated Bibliography 1900-1973." Bulletin of Bibliography and Magazine Notes 31, No. 4 (October/December 1974): 133-56.

Comprehensive list of works that the compiler hopes will "serve as the basis of a complete twentieth-century Paine bibliography."


Aldridge, Alfred Owen. Man of Reason: The Life of Thomas Paine. Philadelphia and New York: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1959,348 p.

Study by a major scholar of Paine's works. Presents its subject as "a symbol of the rationalistic spirit of his age."

Anonymous. "The English Voltaire: Tom Paine: Citizen of the World." The Times Literary Supplement, No. 1826 (January 30, 1937): 65-66.

A relatively favorable review of Paine's life; nonetheless, finds his work "not very stirring" and "far less important than Paine believed."

Berthold, S. M. Thomas Paine: America's First Liberal. Boston: Meador Publishing Company, 1938, 264 p.

Seeks to advance Paine's emergence from obscurity with the view that he "served . . . in causes of enlightenment and freedom."

Bradford, Gamaliel. "Thomas Paine." In his Damaged Souls, pp. 53-83. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1931.

Characterizes Paine both as a "commonplace rebel, entirely practical, a trifle sordid" and as a man "inspired by the love of humanity."

Cheetham, James. The Life of Thomas Paine. 1809. Reprint, Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1989, 347 p.

Landmark biography of Paine that depicted him as a drunken blasphemer—an image that held in public perception for another century. Introduction by Lawrence M. Lasher places Cheetham's work in historical context.

Conway, Moncure Daniel. The Life of Thomas Paine. 1892. Reprint, Watts & Co., 1909, and Benjamin Blom, Inc., 1969. Edited by Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner. 352 p.

Landmark biography and revaluation of Paine. Helped instigate the resurgence of Paine's reputation in the twentieth century.

Dyck, Ian, ed. Citizen of the World: Essays on Thomas Paine. London: Christopher Helm, 1987, 152 p.

Offers a series of essays on Paine's biography and several significant aspects of his career; most essays are by scholar George Spater.

Foner, Eric. Tom Paine and Revolutionary America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976, 326 p.

Focuses on crucial points in Paine's life in order to "trace . . . the relationships between a particular individual and his times and between a particular brand of radical ideology and the social and political history of revolutionary America."

Gimbel, Richard. "The Resurgence of Thomas Paine." Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 69 (October 21, 1959): 97-111.

Brief biographical essay precedes a discussion of the changes in Paine's image in the years and decades after his death.

Ingersoll, Robert G. "Thomas Paine." The North American Review CLV, No. 429 (August 1892): 181-95.

A review of Moncure D. Conway's biography. Briefly recounts Paine's life and offers a positive image of the revolutionary.

Keane, John. Tom Paine: A Political Life. London: Bloomsbury, 1995,644 p.

Attempts to fill certain gaps in Paine's biographies to date, especially his early life in England and his career in France.

Palmer, R. R. "Tom Paine: Victim of the Rights of Man." The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography LXVI, No. 2 (April 1942): 161-75.

Portrays Paine both as emblematic of eighteenth-century rationalism and as a "man of simple and immovable faith."

Powell, David. Tom Paine: The Greatest Exile. London: Croom Helm, 1985,303 p.

Evokes Paine's life and environment through a combination of documentation and imaginative reconstruction.

Washburne, E. B. "Thomas Paine and the French Revolution." Scribner's Monthly XX, No. 5 (September 1880): 771-86.

Hailing Paine for his "ability, zeal and usefulness," recounts his initial involvement with the revolution and his imprisonment during the Terror.

Wilson, Jerome D., and William F. Ricketson. Thomas Paine. Boston: Twayne, 1989, 156 p.

Develops a largely positive biography of Paine from a study of his written work.


Adler, Felix. "Thomas Paine." Standard' 22, No. 5 (February 1936): 123-28.

Reassesses The Age of Reason, lauding Paine's humanity and sincerity, but finding his "criticism of religion . . . false."

Aldridge, Alfred Owen. "Thomas Paine in Latin America." Early American Literature 3, No. 3 (Winter 1968-69): 139-46.

Charts the influence of Paine's work in Latin America through translations and distributions of his writings—one as early as 1811—as well as echoes in the works of Latin American writers.

Bailyn, Bernard. "Thomas Paine: A Reappraisal of Common Sense, the Most Extraordinary Pamphlet of the American Revolution." The UNESCO Courier 29 (July 1976): 20-22, 27-28.

Declaration, by a leading scholar of revolutionary America, that Common Sense was a "work of genius." Also includes a brief narrative of its role in the Revolution.

Christian, William. "The Moral Economics of Tom Paine." Journal of the History of Ideas XXXIV, No. 3 (July-September 1973): 367-80.

Contends that Paine's "major innovation in English thought was his attempt to outline the role government would play in a society which subordinated economics to morality."

Clark, Harry H. "Introduction: Thomas Paine the Conservative." In Six New Letters of Thomas Paine, pp. vii-xxxii. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1939.

Offers a corrective view of Paine's earlier career, arguing that previous to the French Revolution he "had considerably more in common with those who were later regarded as conservatives."

Falk, Robert P. "Thomas Paine: Deist or Quaker?" The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography LXII, No. 1 (January 1938): 52-63.

Argues that Paine's Quaker heritage may have played a greater role in his political views than he acknowledged.

Foner, Philip S. "Introduction." In The Complete Writings of Thomas Paine, edited by Philip S. Foner, pp. ix-lix. New York: Citadel Press, 1945.

Seminal scholarly review of Paine's life and work, providing comprehensive summaries of his major writings and the historical context in which they were written.

Furniss, Tom. "Burke, Paine, and the Language of Assignats." In The Yearbook of English Studies 19 (1989): 54-70.

Conducts close readings of Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France and Paine's Rights of Man in order to determine the relationship in each between language and economics.

Ginsberg, Elaine K. "Style and Identification in Common Sense. " Philological Papers 23 (January 1977): 26-36.

Undertakes one of the first close studies of the rhetoric and persuasive strategies Paine employed in his first important pamphlet.

Gummere, Richard M. "Thomas Paine: Was He Really Anticlassical?" Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 75 (October 20, 1965): 253-69.

Reviews Paine's biography and writings in light of his familiarity with and possible use of classical sources.

Jordon, Winthrop D. "Familial Politics: Thomas Paine and the Killing of the King, 1776." The Journal of American History LX, No. 2 (September 1973): 294-308.

Employs a psychological framework to argue that Common Sense was instrumental in the metaphorical regicide/patricide achieved by the American Revolution.

Kates, Gary. "From Liberalism to Radicalism: Tom Paine's Rights of Man. " Journal of the History of Ideas L, No. 4 (October-December 1989): 569-87.

Asserts that Paine's involvement in the French Revolution "transformed" his political ideology.

Kramnick, Isaac. An Introduction to Common Sense, by Thomas Paine, pp. 7-59. London: Penguin, 1976.

Provides extensive context for the novice reader, including the general history of the age and Paine's biography.

Leffman, Henry. "The Real Thomas Paine, Patriot and Publicist. A Philosopher Misunderstood." The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography XLVI, No. 2 (1922): 81-99.

Attempts to salvage Paine's reputation from the dismissal of the nineteenth century, particularly in terms of his contribution to the revolutions in France and America.

Nursey-Bray, P. F. "Thomas Paine and the Concept of Alienation." Political Studies XVI, No. 2 (1968): 223-42.

Examines the impact of Paine's concept of alienation, or individual self-estrangement, on both his success as a pamphleteer and his weakness as a political philosopher.

Paine, Thomas. Political Writings. Edited by Bruce Kuklick. Cam-bridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989,260 p.

Presents Paine's major works from Common Sense to Part I of The Age of Reason, as well as an editor's introduction and a biographical chronology.

Parrington, Vernon Louis. "Political Thinkers: The French Group." In Main Currents of American Thought, Vol. I: 1620-1800, The Colonial Mind, pp. 333-62. SanDiego, Calif.: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1927.

Portrays Paine as a great revolutionary and advocate of human rights whose works presented, in distilled and powerful form, the most progressive philosophies of the age.

Roth, Martin. "Tom Paine and American Loneliness." Early American Literature 22, No. 2 (Fall 1987): 175-82.

Reads Paine's early works for their imagery, contending that he "gives us a melodrama of isolation in an embryo" that will become characteristic of American literature and American identity.

Thompson, Tommy R. "The Resurrection of Thomas Paine in American Popular Magazines." The Midwest Quarterly XXXIII, No. 1 (Autumn 1991): 75-92.

Documents Paine's image in the American press, particularly during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; includes a bibliography.

Wector, Dixon. "Thomas Paine and the Franklins." American Literature 12, No. 3 (November 1940): 306-17.

Narrative and comparative study that reproduces many of the letters exchanged between the two men.

Woodcock, Bruce, and John Coates. "Writing the Revolution—Aspects of Thomas Paine and his Prose." In their Combative Souls: Romantic Writing and Ideology: Two Contrasting Interpretations, pp. 79-98. Hull, England: University of Hull Press, 1988.

Analyzes Paine's prose as the product of his belief that writing constituted a vital political action and could alter the forms of power.

Woolf, Leonard. "The World of Books: 'A Filthy Little Atheist."' The Nation and Athenaeum 41, No. 19 (August 13, 1927), p. 638.

Briefly refutes the prevailing view of Paine and calls for a more in-depth examination of his work. Woolf, the husband of novelist Virginia Woolf, was a significant political progressive in England in his own era.

Zacharias, Donald W. "Tom Paine: Eloquent Defender of Louis XVI." The Central States Speech Journal XIII, No. 3 (Spring 1962): 183-88.

Focuses on Paine's French career and, in particular, the details of his effort to save the deposed king from execution.

Additional coverage of Paine's life and career is contained in the following source published by Gale Research: Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vols. 31, 43, and 73.

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