Richard Steele

1672 (Dublin) – 1729 (Carmarthen, Wales)

Steele and his schoolfriend and brother-in-arms Addison pretty much invented a mode of engagingly witty yet serious journalism, whose wide influence can be felt even today. He knew both Jacob Tonsons, dining with Tonson the elder as a sort of editorial consultant, or sometimes just to get his bills discounted. He wrote a prologue to one of Vanbrugh’s plays. Swift, Pope, Young and Berkeley were all among his circle of contributors. Pope and he had a warm mutual respect; Swift (under the pen-name Humphrey Wagstaff, to Steele’s Isaac Bickerstaff) started as a good friend, though the relationship later deteriorated.