Richard Steele was born in Dublin, Ireland and educated at the Charter house and Oxford. He left before taking his degree and joined the army in 1694. In 1713 as a staunch Whig, he became the Member of Parliament.
Steele owes his reputation to his effort as an essayist. The Tatler which he started in 1709, constitutes a landmark in English prose literature. His easy familiar style, humour, gentle irony,and scholarship made him just the man to adapt the essay and the “characters” of Earle to the needs of an age that was marked by levity of conduct and thought, but at the same time eminently reasonably. Steele is sentimental and warm hearted, but always urbane. He has also a delicate sense of humour.