Joseph Warton

(22 April 1722 - 23 February 1800)
Joseph Warton (1722-1800)

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Joseph Warton (1722-1800)

Works in ECPA

alphabetical listing / listing in source editions

Source editions

  • A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. III. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758]. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.003)
  • A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. IV. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758]. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.004)
  • A collection of poems in four volumes. By several hands. Vol. II. [The second edition]. London: printed for G. Pearch, 1770. 4v. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T116245; DMI 1135; OTA K093079.002)

Biographical note

Joseph and his younger brother Thomas were the sons of Thomas Warton the elder (1688-1745) and his wife Elizabeth, née Richardson (1691-1762). Joseph was educated at Winchester College and Oriel College, Oxford, graduating BA in 1744. He began writing and publishing poetry while still at school. At Oxford, he published, anonymously, Fashion: a Satire (1742) and The Enthusiast: or the Lover of Nature (1744). In 1746, he published his Odes on Various Subjects, which included the Ode to Fancy, Ode to Liberty, and Ode to Solitude among others, "an attempt to bring back Poetry into its right channel", i.e. away from didactic and moralizing verse towards invention and imagination. In 1747 Warton married Mary Daman (d. 1772), with whom he eventually had six children. He edited the Works of Virgil in four volumes in 1753. In 1755, he took up a teaching post at Winchester College and in 1766 became its Headmaster. Warton had a wide circle of literary friends and made regular visits to London. He joined The Club in 1777, and continued working as a literary critic and editor. After his retirement in 1793, he published a nine-volume edition of Pope (1797). He died in 1800 and was buried in Winchester Cathedral.


DMI 2290; ODNB 28796; NCBEL 44, 689, 1781; DLB 109


  • Smith, Margaret M. Index of English Literary Manuscripts. Vol. III, 1700-1800 . London: Mansell, 1986-1997. Pt. 4 Sterne-Young. 415-454. Print. 4 volumes.


  • Pittock, Joan, ed. Joseph Warton, Odes on Various Subjects (facsimile of 1st edn, 1746). Scholar's Facsimiles and Reprints. Delmar, NY: Scholars, 1977. Print.
  • Wendorf, Richard, ed. Joseph Warton, Odes on Various Subjects (facsimile of 1st edn, 1746). Augustan Reprint Society, vol. 197. Los Angeles: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, 1979. Print.
  • 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. XVIII. London: J. Johnson et al., 1810. 143-172. Google Books edition. Web. 13 Feb. 2016.


  • Vance, John A. Joseph and Thomas Warton. Boston: Twayne, 1983. Print.
  • Wooll, John. Biographical Memoirs of the Late Revd. Joseph Warton, D.D. London: T. Candell and W. Davies, 1806. Print.


  • Vance, John A. Joseph and Thomas Warton. An Annotated Bibliography. New York and London: Garland, 1983. 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. 356-357. Print.
  • Fairer, David. English Poetry of the Eighteenth Century 1700-1789. Longman Literature in English Series. Harlow: Longman, 2003. 289-290. 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. 408-416. Print.
  • Radcliffe, David H., ed. Rev. Joseph Warton (1722-1800). Spenser and the Tradition: ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830. Center for Applied Technologies in the Humanities, Virginia Tech, 2006. Web. 14 Oct. 2011.
  • Suarez, Michael F. Warton, Joseph. A Collection of Poems by Several Hands [1782]. Ed. Robert Dodsley and Michael F. Suarez. Vol. I. London: Routledge/Thoemmes, 1997. 220. Print. 6 volumes.


  • Pittock, Joan. The Ascendancy of Taste: The Achievement of Joseph and Thomas Warton. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973. Print.
  • Fairer, David. The Poems of Thomas Warton the Elder?. Review of English Studies 26 (1975): 287-300, 395-406; and 29 (1978): 61-65. Print.
  • Hysham, Julia. Joseph Warton's Reputation as a Poet. Studies in Romanticism 1 (1962): 220-229. Print.
  • McKillop, Alan D. Shaftesbury in Joseph Warton's Enthusiast. Modern Language Notes 70 (1955): 337-339. Print.
  • Scouten, Arthur H The Warton Forgeries and the Concept of Preromanticism in English Literature. Etudes Anglaises 40 (1987): 434-447. Print.

Studies of individual works

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