Abstract

Joseph Addison's Dialogues upon the Usefulness of Ancient Medals (1721) is difficult to square with his critique of the uselessness of the antiquarian scholar/pedant. This essay examines how he separates his numismatic project from antiquarianism by discovering in the art of ancient money a tool for the production of social stability. As such, numismatic representation has important political uses: it provides Addison with a forceful mode of communication without hermeneutic risks and solves the problems of civic virtue and monetary value associated with England's financial revolution. This usefulness, however, demonstrates that Addison is not committed to a public sphere model of rational/critical debate but instead seeks to produce and manage community through aesthetic force.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 509-531
Launched on MUSE
2005-03-28
Open Access
No
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