A Johnson Handbook

A Johnson Handbook

A Johnson Handbook

A Johnson Handbook

Excerpt

This little book is designed to serve as a guide for readers who, desirous of a stable friendship with Samuel Johnson, are yet prevented from undertaking an intimate study of his works, loitering pleasantly with Boswell, and surveying the vast field of critical and appreciative matter which confronts earnest Johnsonians. It is an attempt to offer, in as compact a format as is feasible, a compendium of the salient data concerning the life, the character, and the principal works of this tremendous man.

From the mass of available material I have tried to select that which would be most significant for the mature student. A biographical summary is presented largely as it is told in Johnson's own statements and those of his contemporaries, the Boswell quotations being deliberately curtailed to give precedence to less easily accessible matter. The gratitude which every Johnsonian owes to Boswell is, nevertheless, apparent.

An exposition of Johnson's development both as a creator and as a scholar is attempted. His influence it is impossible for me to estimate.

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