Mark Akenside

(9 November 1721 - 23 June 1770)
Mark Akenside (1721-1770)

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mark Akenside (1721-1770)

Works in ECPA

alphabetical listing / listing in source editions

Source editions

  • Akenside, Mark, 1721-1770. The pleasures of imagination: A poem. In three books. London: printed for R. Dodsley, 1744. 125,[3]p. ; 4⁰. (ESTC T42493; Foxon A139; OTA K048676.000)
  • Dodsley, Robert, 1703-1764. A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. VI. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758]. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.006)
  • Mendez, Moses. A collection of the most esteemed pieces of poetry: that have appeared for several years. With variety of originals, by the late Moses Mendez, Esq; and other contributors to Dodsley's collection. To which this is intended as a supplement. London: printed for Richardson and Urquhart, 1767. [8],320p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T124631; DMI 1073; OTA K099398.000)

Biographical note

Mark Akenside, the son of a butcher, was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 9 November 1721. His family being dissenters, he was educated at a disssenting academy. He trained as a clergyman, but later switched to medicine. He qualified in Leiden in 1744. At university, he met his closest friend and life-long supporter, Jeremiah Dyson (c. 1722-1776). Akenside began publishing poetry as early as 1737. In 1744, Dodsley published his didactic poem The Pleasures of Imagination on the advice of Alexander Pope. Later in life, Akenside focused on his medical career and he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and of the Royal Society. Akenside never married and on his death on 23 June 1770, he left everything to Dyson, who edited a posthumous collection of The Poems (1772).


DMI 1187; ODNB 263; NCBEL 41, 637


  • Smith, Margaret M. Index of English Literary Manuscripts. Vol. III, 1700-1800 . London: Mansell, 1986-1997. Pt. 1 Addison-Fielding. 13-16. Print. 4 volumes.


  • The Works of the English Poets, from Chaucer to Cowper; including the Series Edited, with Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, by Dr Samuel Johnson: and the most approved translations. The Additional Lives by Alexander Chalmers, F.S.A. Vol. XIV. London: J. Johnson et al., 1810. 51-133. Google Books edition. Web. 13 Feb. 2016.
  • Dix, Robin, ed. The Poetical Works of Mark Akenside. Madison and Teaneck; London: Farleigh Dickinson UP; Associated University Presses, 1996. Print.


  • Houpt, Charles T. Mark Akenside: A Biographical and Critical Study. New York: Russell and Russell, 1970 [1st 1944]. Print.

Reference works

  • Baines, Paul, Julian Ferraro, Pat Rogers, eds. The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Eighteenth-Century Writers and Writing, 1660-1789. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. 3-4. Print.
  • Fairer, David. English Poetry of the Eighteenth Century 1700-1789. Longman Literature in English Series. Harlow: Longman, 2003. 259-260. Print.
  • Mell, Jr., Donald C. English Poetry, 1660-1800: a guide to information sources. American Literature, English Literature, and World Literatures in English Information Guide Series, vol. 40. Detroit: Gale, 1982. 101-105. Print.
  • Radcliffe, David H., ed. Dr. Mark Akenside (1721-1770). Spenser and the Tradition: ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830. Center for Applied Technologies in the Humanities, Virginia Tech, 2006. Web. 11 Nov. 2011.
  • Suarez, Michael F. Akenside, Mark. A Collection of Poems by Several Hands [1782]. Ed. Robert Dodsley and Michael F. Suarez. Vol. I. London: Routledge/Thoemmes, 1997. 120-121. Print. 6 volumes.


  • Aldridge, A. O. Akenside and Imagination. Studies in Philology 42 (1945): 769-792. Print.
  • Hart, Jeffrey. Akenside's Revision of The Pleasures of Imagination. PMLA 74 (1959): 67-74. Print.
  • Kallich, Martin. The Association of Ideas and Akenside's Pleasures of Imagination. Modern Language Notes 62 (1947): 166-173. Print.
  • Marsh, Robert. Akenside and Addison: The Problem of Ideational Debt. Modern Philology 59 (1961-2): 36-48. Print.
  • Marsh, Robert. Akenside and the Powers of Imagination. Marsh, Robert. Four Dialectical Theories of Poetry. Chicago: U of Chicago P., 1965. 48-86. Print.
  • Meehan, Michael. Liberty and Poetics in Eighteenth Century England. London: Croom Helm, 1986. 52-63. Print.
  • Sitter, John. Theodicy at Mid-Century: Young, Akenside, and Hume. Eighteenth-Century Studies 12 (1978): 90-106. Print.