Joseph Addison – Essays from “The Spectator” (ctd.)

This is a rather bland essay about the pleasures of the imagination. Addison starts by stating that our sight is the most important of senses and it gives fuel for the imagination, because we cannot imagine anything we haven’t seen before (or what is a variation on the things we’ve seen). He clarifies that there is a difference between the fancy and the imagination, and by the imagination he mean “such pleasures as arise originally from sight”, but unfortunately he doesn’t explain what he means by fancy. The rest of the essay is the praise of the pleasures of the imagination which are neither so gross as purely sensual ones nor as refined as the pleasures of intellect. As opposed to sensual pleasures, the imagination is always innocent, but Addison doesn’t address the question of imagining sinful things. The imagination is more accessible to anyone than the intellectual pursuits, it is not as taxing on the brain and may be even beneficial for our mind and body, as Addison claims, quoting Francis Bacon. And then Addison wrote ten papers more on the imagination, which, however, I’m in no hurry to read.

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