Philip Dormer Stanhope,
Fourth Earl of Chesterfield
Last revised 3 August 2001
- Sidney L. Gulick, A Chesterfield Bibliography to 1800,
2nd ed. (Charlottesville: Published for the Bibliographical
Society of America by the Univ. Press of Virginia, 1979).
- The Letters of Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of
Chesterfield, ed. Bonamy Dobrée, 6 vols. (London: Eyre
& Spottiswoode, 1932; repr. New York: AMS Press, 1968). The
standard scholarly edition, invaluable for its Introduction,
text, Historical Notes, footnotes, and index -- 2618 letters.
- <Letters Written by the late Right Honourable Philip
Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, to his son, Philip
Stanhope, Esq., 2 vols. (London: J. Dodsley, 1774;
Supplement, which includes a few notes, 1787). The reluctantly
authorized and most unwelcome first edition, edited by Philip
Stanhope's wife, Eugenia. Eleven editions by 1800. Includes
Maxims, several pamphlets, speeches, essays, and some
- "The Art of Pleasing. In a Series of Letters from the Earl of
Ch--rf--d to Master Stanhope," Edinburgh Magazine, 1
(1774: February, 191-95; March, 225-30; April, 281-86; May,
358-60), 2 (June, 397-402). Fourteen letters to his godson,
included in the editions of Dobrée above and Carnavon
Major editions before Dobrée
- The Letters of Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of
Chesterfield, ed. Lord Mahon, 5 vols. (London: Richard
Bentley, 1845, 1853; repr. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1892).
- Letters of Philip Dormer, Fourth Earl of Chesterfield, to
his Godson and Successor, ed. Henry Howard Molyneux, Earl of
Carnarvon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1890).
- The Letters of Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of
Chesterfield, with the Characters, ed. John Bradshaw, 3 vols.
(London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1892). Relies heavily on Mahon.
- Private Correspondence of Chesterfield and Newcastle,
1744-46, ed. Sir Richard Lodge (London: Royal Historical
Society, 1930). The Introduction and notes provide a detailed
historical and political background for these few years.
- Rex A. Barrell, French Correspondence of Philip Dormer
Stanhope, Fourth Earl of Chesterfield 2 vols. (Ottawa:
Borealis Press, 1980). 297 French letters, with an Introduction
Separate Letters, not in Dobrée
- Sidney L. Gulick, Some Unpublished Letters of Lord
Chesterfield (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1937).
Texts, with Introduction, notes, and (where needed, translations)
of 7 early letters (1760-1763) and 19 late (1770-73) letters to
his godson, and one of 26 July 1771 to Deyverdun.
- Cecil Price, "Five Unpublished Letters by Chesterfield,"
Life and Letters 59 (1948): 3-10. Texts and context of
five letters to the Earl of Bute written from 1760 to 1763.
- Cornelia Childs, "A Letter of Lord Chesterfield," Notes
& Queries n.s. 11, no. 209 (1964): 61-62. Full text of
Dobrée #2135, July 1762, a potted history of the Kings of
- John C. Riely, "Chesterfield, Mallet, and the Publication of
Bolingbroke's Works," Review of English Studies 25 (1974):
61-65. Letters to Mallet of 27 Oct. and 5 Nov. 1753.
- Karl W. Schweizer, "Lord Chesterfield to Bute: Four
Unpublished Letters," English Language Notes 16 (1979):
218-23. Letters of 27 Jan. and 31 Oct. 1760, 9 April 1761, and 11
March 1763 asking Bute's patronage for John Hotham and Philip
- Jeremy Black, "An Unknown Letter of Lord Chesterfield's: A
Community of Diplomatic Rakes," Trivium 17 (1982): 141-43.
The text of a familiar letter to Lord Waldegrave of 12 Oct. 1728,
bantering about the sexual escapades of aristocratic ambassadors.
- Pat Rogers, "Lord Chesterfield and the Order of the Garter:
An Unpublished Letter," Notes & Queries n.s. 31, no.
229 (1984): 48-50. Text and context of a brief letter of 21 Sept.
- Jeremy Black, "A Fresh Chesterfield Letter of 1729," Notes
& Queries n.s. 32, no. 230 (1985): 208-209. Background
and text of a letter to Townshend of 7 July 1729.
- Miscellaneous Works of the Late Philip Dormer Stanhope,
Earl of Chesterfield: Consisting of Letters to his Friends, never
before printed, and Various Other Articles, collected and
introduced by M. Maty, ed. J. O. Justomond, 2 vols. (London:
Dilly, 1777; several subsequent editions). Excludes the letters
to his son and his godson. Includes some 45 periodical essays,
several speeches [including two on the gin act in the version
written by Samuel Johnson! -- see Korshin, PMLA (1970),
below], and the Preface to James Hammond's Love Elegies.
- Miscellaneous Works, Vol. III, ed. Benjamin Way
(London: Sherlock, 1778). Includes "The Art of Pleasing," several
political pamphlets, and some poems.
- Miscellanies, ed. Lord Mahon, vol. 5 of the 1845
edition, above (London: Richard Bentley, 1853; repr.
Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1892). The best available edition of
the periodical essays from Fog's Journal, Common Sense,
Old England, and The World.
Selected Individual Works
- The Case of the Hanover Forces, in the Pay of
Great-Britain, Impartially and freely examined: With Some
Seasonable Reflexions on the Present Conjuncture of Affairs
(London: T. Cooper, 1743).
- An Apology for a Late Resignation (London: John
- Characters of Eminent Personages of His Own Time
(London: William Flexney, 1777; the 1778 edition adds 9 new
- Characters (1778, 1845), ed. Alan T. McKenzie,
Augustan Reprint Society, nos. 259-260 (Los Angeles: William
Andrews Clark Memorial Library, 1990).
- Colin Franklin, Lord Chesterfield : His Character and
Characters (Aldershot: Ashgate; Brookfield, Vt.: Scolar
Press, 1993). Includes facsimiles of the manuscript.
- The Wit and Wisdom of the Earl of Chesterfield, ed.
William Ernst[-Browning] (London: Richard Bentley, 1875). The
best edition of the poems, such as they are.
Archives and Depositories
- There are Chesterfield papers and letters in the Ryks
Archief, the Royal Library, and the Queen's Library at the Hague
and the Public Record Office, the British Library, and the
National Maritime Museum in London, the City Library of Cardiff,
and in the private collections of the Earl of Sandwich, the Duke
of Marlborough, and the Kent Family History Center. The Lilly
Library at Indiana University has the manuscripts of the letters
to his godson and the Characters. The Huntington Library
has the letters to Lord Huntingdon and Gulick's extensive
collection of the published works. The Bancroft Library at U.C.
Berkeley has the Earl of Carnarvon papers. Other manuscripts are
in the Houghton Library at Harvard and the rare book library at
the University of Kansas. See also Connely, below, p. 481.
Selected Teaching Editions and Anthologies
- David Roberts, Lord Chesterfield: Letters (Oxford:
Oxford Univ. Press, 1992). Oxford World's Classics. A judicious
selection of 133 letters, with Introduction and notes.
- Richmond P. Bond, Letters and Other Pieces (Garden
City, N.Y.: Doubleday Doran, 1935). Includes some one hundred
letters, five essays, four Characters, two poems, and a speech.
- Lord Chesterfield: Letters to His Son and Others,
Intro. R. K. Root (London: Dent, 1929; repr. 1984). Everyman
- Richard Wilson, Lord Chesterfield to his son: for solo
violoncello (New York: Peermusic -- Southern Music
- Bonamy Dobrée, "The Life of Philip Dormer Stanhope,
Fourth Earl of Chesterfield," in vol. 1 of his 1932 edition,
- Matthew Maty, "Memoirs of Lord Chesterfield," in vol. 1 of
his 1777 edition, above. Maty was a physician, Principal
Librarian of the British Museum, a man of intelligence and
diligence, and one of Chesterfield's literary executors.
- Samuel Shellabarger, Lord Chesterfield (New York:
Macmillan, 1935); slightly revised as Lord Chesterfield and
His World (Boston, Little, Brown, 1951). Background
information and local color.
- Willard Connely, The True Chesterfield: Manners -- Women
-- Education (London: Cassell, 1939). A judicious assessment
of the life and works.
- Alan T. McKenzie, "Philip Dormer Stanhope, Fourth Earl of
Chesterfield," Dictionary of Literary Biography: British Prose
Writers, 1660-1800, Second Series, ed. Donald T. Siebert,
vol. 104 (Detroit: Bruccoli Clark Layman, 1991), 61-77.
- Elizabeth Nelson, "Candide's English Prototypes,"
Comparative Literature Studies 21 (1984): 282-305. An
early connection with Voltaire and similarities between
Chesterfield and Pococuranté.
- Roger Coxon, Chesterfield and His Critics (London:
Routledge, 1925; repr. Norway, Pa.: Norway Editions, 1977). A
careful and spirited defense of the man.
- Myron Magnet, "Lord Chesterfield, Barnaby Rudge, and
the History of Conscience," Bulletin of the New York Public
Library 80 (1977): 474-502. Chesterfield's letters inculcate
and explain the "love of fame" theory of conscience, which
- Rex A. Barrel, Chesterfield et la France (Paris:
Novellas editions Latinos, 1968). The influence of French culture
on Chesterfield's early character and later ideals, and his
friendships and correspondence with various French writers and
- John Churn Collins, "Lord Chesterfield's Letters," in
Essays and Studies (London: Macmillan, 1895), 193-262.
Defends Chesterfield's English good sense and French
- George Birkbeck Hill, "Lord Chesterfield's Letters," in
Dr. Johnson, His Friends and His Critics (London: Smith
Elder, 1878), 230-47. Surveys his manners and manner.
- Sidney L. Gulick, "The Publication of Chesterfield's
Letters to His Son," PMLA 51 (1936): 165-77.
- William B. Todd, "The Number, Order, and Authorship of the
Hanover Pamphlets Attributed to Chesterfield," Papers of the
Bibliographical Society of America 44 (1950): 224-38.
- Sidney L. Gulick, "Issued in Parts: The Seventh Edition of
Chesterfield's Letters to His Son," Papers of the
Bibliographical Society of America 60 (1966): 159-65.
- Georges Lamoine, "Lord Chesterfield's Letters as
Conduct-Books," in The Crisis of Courtesy: Studies in the
Conduct-Book in Britain, 1600-1900, ed, Jacques Carré
(Leiden: Brill, 1994), 105-17. An epitome of Chesterfield's
- Alan T. McKenzie, "Courtliness, Business, and Form in the
Correspondence of Lord Chesterfield," in Sent as a Gift: Eight
Correspondences from the Eighteenth Century, ed. Alan T.
McKenzie (Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press, 1993): 48-67. Analyzes
the tone and style of three different letters to three different
- Alan T. McKenzie, "The Construction of Character and the
Distrust of the Court in the Correspondence of Lord
Chesterfield," Studies on Voltaire & the Eighteenth
Century 304 (1992): 937-40.
- Jeremy Black, "Reflections on Chesterfield," Notes &
Queries n.s. 33, no. 231 (1986): 74-75. Text of a letter by
Thomas Pelham of 19 Dec. 1777 praising the Correspondence as
useful and wholesome.
- Pat Rogers, "Literary Allusions in Chesterfield's Letters,"
Notes & Queries n.s. 31, no. 229 (1984): 45-48.
Supplies sources and citations for more than 100 Latin quotations
- James Lill, "Poor Philip's Odyssey," The Texas
Quarterly 18, no. 2 (1975): 78-90. Philip was a born failure.
- Richard M. Kelly, "Chesterfield's Letters to His Son: The
Victorian Judgment," Tennessee Studies in Literature 15
(1970): 109-23. With few exceptions (Lord Mahon, Sainte-Beuve),
they attacked his moral character, or sentimentalized it.
- Charles Pullen, "Lord Chesterfield and Eighteenth-Century
Appearance and Reality," Studies in English Literature
1500-1900 8 (1968): 501-15. Chesterfield's ethical and
religious views were more representative than reprehensible, and
very close to those of Shaftesbury.
- Charles Pullen, "The Chesterfield Myth and Eighteenth-Century
Ethics," Dalhousie Review 47 (1967): 369-79. Considers the
origins and validity of the emphasis on "appearances" in the
- Claude J. Rawson, "Gentlemen and Dancing-Masters: Thoughts on
Fielding, Chesterfield, and the Genteel," Eighteenth-Century
Studies 1 (1967): 127-58; reprinted in his Henry Fielding
and the Augustan Ideal Under Stress (London: Routledge &
Kegan Paul, 1972), 3-34. Compares their views on social ease,
illegitimacy, anguish, and manners.
- Cecil Price, "'The Art of Pleasing': The Letters of
Chesterfield," in The Familiar Letter in the Eighteenth
Century, ed. Howard Anderson, Philip Daghlian, and Irvin
Ehrenpreis (Lawrence: Univ. of Kansas Press, 1966), 92-107.
Divides the letters into groups and considers their form and
- Stella M. Brewer, Design for a Gentleman: The Education of
Philip Stanhope (London: Chapman & Hall, 1963). A lengthy
reconsideration of Chesterfield's project and its results.
- Frank C. Nolick, "Lord Chesterfield's Adoption of Philip
Stanhope," Philological Quarterly 38 (1959): 370-78. Uses
twelve letters by or to A. C. Stanhope from 1757 to 1769 to
establish the date of the adoption as 1 September 1757.
- F. L. Lucas, "Lord Chesterfield," in The Search for Good
Sense: Four Eighteenth-Century Characters (London: Cassell,
1958), 129-76. Chesterfield was a queer figure, flat, proud,
hasty, frustrated, and ineffectual, who cared too much for
- J. H. Neumann, "Chesterfield and the Standard of Usage in
English," Modern Language Quarterly 7 (1946): 463-75.
Considers fifty passages in the Correspondence that
discuss English usage.
- Wilbur Cortez Abbot, "Lord Chesterfield: Aristocrat," in
Adventures in Reputation (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ.
Press, 1935), 28-59. An appreciation of his career, letters, and
- Virginia Woolf, "Lord Chesterfield's Letters to his Son," in
The Common Reader: Second Series (London: Hogarth Press,
1932), 86-92. Defends Chesterfield's lifelong care of the Graces
and sympathizes with Philip.
- Alan T. McKenzie, "History, Genre, and Insight in the
'Characters' of Lord Chesterfield," Studies in
Eighteenth-Century Culture 21 (1991): 159-76.
- Colin Franklin, "Lord Chesterfield's Characters," in
Theatrum Orbis Librorum: Liber Amicorum Presented to Nico
Israel on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday, ed.
Croiset van Uchelen, van der Horst, and Schilder (Utrecht: HES,
1989), 437-40. The story of the survival of the manuscript.
- Richard W. Bailey, "The Public and Private Styles of the Earl
of Chesterfield," Dissertation Abstracts 27 (1967): 4214A.
- Elizabeth Nelson, "Chesterfield and Voltaire,"
Dissertation Abstracts 27 (1966): 1790A-1791A.
Quarrel with Johnson
- John J. Burke, Jr., "The Originality of Boswell's Version of
Johnson's Quarrel with Lord Chesterfield," in New Light on
Boswell: Critical and Historical Essays on the Occasion of the
Bicentenary of "The Life of Johnson," ed. Gregory Clingham
(Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1991), 143-61. Compares
Boswell's account of the quarrel with earlier versions of it by
Reed, Tyers, Hawkins, and others.
- Elizabeth Hedrick, "Fixing the Language: Johnson,
Chesterfield, and The Plan of a Dictionary," ELH 55
(1988): 421-42. Similarities between Johnson's early linguistic
conservatism and Chesterfield's.
- G. N. Leech, "Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis, Stylistics and
'The Celebrated Letter,'" Prose Studies: History, Theory,
Criticism 6 (1983): 142-57. Irony, civility, and eloquence in
the letter to Johnson.
- Paul J. Korshin, "Types of Eighteenth-Century Literary
Patronage," Eighteenth-Century Studies 7 (1974): 453-73.
Johnson repudiated the dependence of the private patronage which
Chesterfield offered him.
- Howard D. Weinbrot, "Johnson's Dictionary and The
World: The Papers of Lord Chesterfield and Richard Owen
Cambridge," Philological Quarterly 50 (1971): 663-69.
Chesterfield thought that language should be fixed; Johnson had
- Paul J. Korshin, "The Johnson-Chesterfield Relationship: A
New Hypothesis," PMLA 85 (1970): 247-59. The complex irony
in the versions of Chesterfield's speeches that Johnson published
in the Gentleman's Magazine implies a long-standing
- Jacob Leed, "Johnson and Chesterfield: 1746-47" Studies in
Burke & His Time 12 (1970): 1676-90. The timing and
nature of Chesterfield's encouragement, from manuscripts of the
Plan of a Dictionary.
- Paul J. Korshin, "Johnson and Literary Patronage: A Comment
on Jacob Leed's Article," Studies in Burke & His Time
12 (1970): 1804-11. Doubts that Chesterfield promised financial
support for The Dictionary.
- Jacob Leed, "Johnson, Chesterfield, and Patronage: A Response
to Paul Korshin" Studies in Burke & His Time 13
(1971): 2011-15. Reasserts the likelihood of a promise of
- James H. Sledd and Gwin J. Kolb, "Lord Chesterfield and Dr.
Johnson," in Dr. Johnson's Dictionary: Essays in the Biography
of a Book (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1955), 85-104.
Essential for the chronology.
- Sidney L. Gulick, Jr., "Johnson, Chesterfield, and Boswell,"
in The Age of Johnson, ed. Frederick W. Hilles (New Haven:
Yale Univ. Press, 1949), 329-40. Identifies inconsistencies in
Boswell's account and suggests that Boswell grew more bitter to
Chesterfield, while Johnson mellowed.
- William Hayley, Two Dialogues: Containing a Comparative
View of the Lives, Characters, and Writings of Philip, the Late
Earl of Chesterfield, and Samuel Johnson (London: Thomas
Cadell, 1787; repr; Gainesville: Scholars' Facsimiles &
Reprints, 1970, Intro. Robert E. Kelley). Surprisingly lively and
- James Parker, "'Designed in the Most Elegant Manner, and
Wrought in the Best Marbles': The Caryatid Chimney Piece From
Chesterfield House," The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Bulletin 21 (1963): 202-13. This Chimney Piece is now in the
English Furniture Galleries of the Metropolitan Museum; it came
there by way of Bretby, and then William Randolph Hearst.
- David Piper, "The Chesterfield House Library Portraits," in
Evidence in Literary Scholarship: Essays in Memory of James
Marshall Osborn, ed. René Wellek and Alvaro Ribeiro
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979), 179-95. Chesterfield's
distinguished collection of portraits of authors, now in the
Metropolitan Museum, New York.
- The Chesterfield Papers Project at Chapman University, under
the direction of Leland Estes, John R. Lewis, and Myron Yeager,
is working on a CD-ROM edition of all of Chesterfield's letters,
speeches, and publications.
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