Cato: A Tragedy and Selected Essays / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 40%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 86%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (18) from $1.99   
  • New (2) from $15.13   
  • Used (16) from $1.99   


"A day, an hour, of virtuous liberty is worth a whole eternity in bondage."
-Joseph Addison, Cato 1713

Joseph Addison was born in 1672 in Milston, Wiltshire, England. He was educated in the classics at Oxford and became widely known as an essayist, playwright, poet, and statesman. First produced in 1713, Cato, A Tragedy inspired generations toward a pursuit of liberty. Liberty Fund’s new edition of Cato: A Tragedy, and Selected Essays brings together Addison’s dramatic masterpiece along with a selection of his essays that develop key themes in the play.

Cato, A Tragedy is the account of the final hours of Marcus Porcius Cato (95–46 B.C.), a Stoic whose deeds, rhetoric, and resistance to the tyranny of Caesar made him an icon of republicanism, virtue, and liberty. By all accounts, Cato was an uncompromisingly principled man, deeply committed to liberty. He opposed Caesar’s tyrannical assertion of power and took arms against him. As Caesar’s forces closed in on Cato, he chose to take his life, preferring death by his own hand to a life of submission to Caesar.

Addison’s theatrical depiction of Cato enlivened the glorious image of a citizen ready to sacrifice everything in the cause of freedom, and it influenced friends of liberty on both sides of the Atlantic. Captain Nathan Hale’s last words before being hanged were, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country,” a close paraphrase of Addison’s “What pity is it that we can die but once to serve our country!” George Washington found Cato such a powerful statement of liberty, honor, virtue, and patriotism that he had it performed for his men at Valley Forge. And Forrest McDonald says in his Foreword that “Patrick Henry adapted his famous ‘Give me liberty or give me death’ speech directly from lines in Cato.”

Despite Cato’s enormous success, Addison was perhaps best-known as an essayist. In periodicals like the Spectator, Guardian, Tatler, and Freeholder, he sought to educate England’s developing middle class in the habits, morals, and manners he believed necessary for the preservation of a free society. Addison’s work in these periodicals helped to define the modern English essay form. Samuel Johnson said of his writing, “Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the study of Addison.”

Christine Dunn Henderson is a Senior Fellow at Liberty Fund. Prior to joining Liberty Fund in 2000, she was assistant professor of political science at Marshall University.

Mark E. Yellin, also a Fellow at Liberty Fund, received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University, has taught at North Carolina State University, and edited Douglass Adair’s Intellectual Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy.

Click here for a pdf of the Cato: A Tragedy brochure

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865974432
  • Publisher: Liberty Fund, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 308
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword by Forrest McDonald vii

Introduction by Christine Dunn Henderson
and Mark E. Yellin xi

Editors’ Note xxv

Acknowledgments xxvii

Part I: Cato, A Tragedy 1

Part II: Selected Essays 101

Tatler 161 (April 20, 1710) 103
Tatler 162 (April 22, 1710) 108
Whig Examiner 5 (October 12, 1710) 112
Spectator 55 (May 3, 1711) 118
Spectator 125 (July 24, 1711) 123
Spectator 169 (September 13, 1711) 127
Spectator 215 (November 6, 1711) 131
Spectator 219 (November 10, 1711) 135
Spectator 231 (November 24, 1711) 139
Spectator 237 (December 1, 1711) 144
Spectator 243 (December 8, 1711) 148
Spectator 255 (December 22, 1711) 152
Spectator 256 (December 24, 1711) 156
Spectator 257 (December 25, 1711) 162
Spectator 287 (January 29, 1712) 167
Spectator 293 (February 5, 1712) 173
Spectator 349 (April 10, 1712) 178
Spectator 446 (August 1, 1712) 182
Spectator 557 (June 21, 1714) 186
Guardian 99 (July 4, 1713) 190
Guardian 161 (September 15, 1713) 194
Freeholder 1 (December 23, 1715) 198
Freeholder 2 (December 26, 1715) 202
Freeholder 5 (January 6, 1716) 207
Freeholder 10 (January 23, 1716) 214
Freeholder 12 (January 30, 1716) 220
Freeholder 13 (February 3, 1716) 226
Freeholder 16 (February 13, 1716) 230
Freeholder 29 (March 30, 1716) 235
Freeholder 34 (April 16, 1716) 239
Freeholder 39 (May 4, 1716) 243
Freeholder 51 (June 15, 1716) 249

Appendix: Lewis Theobald’s The Life and Character of
Marcus Portius Cato Uticensis (1713) 253

Index 273

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013


    Swims for a couple minutes then sits next to her, smiling.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)