Samuel Johnson - Life Stories, Books, and Links
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Stories about Samuel Johnson

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Picture of Samuel Johnson, essayist and writer of the first Dictionary; eighteenth century British Literature / English Literature
Samuel Johnson   (1709 - 1784)
Category:  English Literature
Born:  September 7, 1709
Lichfield, Staffordshire, England
Died:  December 13, 1784
London, England
Related authors:
Beryl Bainbridge, Christopher Smart, Fanny Burney, James Boswell, Oxford English Dictionary, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Robert Burton
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Samuel Johnson - LIFE STORIES
4/6/1763     Kit Smart, Johnson & Ginsberg
On this day in 1763 Christopher Smart's most famous poem, "Song to David," was published. Though a minor poet, Smart was friendly to those in Samuel Johnson's circle, notorious to many for his enthusiastic public displays of "religious mania" -- "Song to David" was composed in Mr. Potter's Madhouse -- and an important influence on Allen Ginsberg's "Howl."
4/15/1755     Johnson's Dictionary
On this day in 1755 Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language was published. Johnson's dictionary is considered the first significant work of its kind in English, most notable for the precision of its definitions and the inclusion of exemplary quotations; it is also prized as a reflection of Johnson's legendary wit and quirky personality.
6/16/1746     Samuel Johnson's Dictionary
It is hard to imagine a man like Samuel Johnson not finding fame, but his biographers regard June 18th, 1746 -- the date that Johnson contracted with a handful of London booksellers to produce his Dictionary of the English Language -- as the point at which he turned away from being a pen-for-hire on Grub Street, and towards becoming perhaps the most famous man of letters in English literature.
8/16/1762     Samuel Johnson in Devon
On this day in 1762, Samuel Johnson and Sir Joshua Reynolds departed on their six-week trip to Devonshire, an excursion now rich in Johnsonia. It was made possible by the impoverished and very Tory Johnson having received a government pension from the ruling Whigs, to great outcry and this retort: "I wish my pension were twice as large that they might make twice as much noise."
11/15/1762     Boswell, Johnson, London
On this day in 1762 James Boswell left Edinburgh for London, beginning the eight-and-a-half-month stay that would be recorded in his London Journal, and earn him a reputation as one of the great British diarists. From Boswell's account of his first meeting with his ticket to history: "Mr. Johnson, indeed I come from Scotland, but I cannot help it." "Sir, that, I find, is what a great many of your countrymen cannot help."
11/21/1934     Dr. Johnson in Love    read it now!
On this day in 1934, British novelist Beryl Bainbridge was born. Her latest novel -- of some two-dozen, with about half that many major prizes and nominations -- is According to Queeney, a look at Samuel Johnson's last years and deeper, sometimes darker feelings. Bainbridge's Johnson is not comfortable with love, nor was Boswell's....
12/13/1784     Samuel Johnson: Iam Moriturus
On this day in 1784 Samuel Johnson died. Johnson's last years have been told According to Queeney (Beryl Bainbridge, 2001) and many others, but his large personality seems to escape any one perspective. According to Harold Bloom, Johnson may be beyond reach in all ways: "There is no bad faith in or about Dr. Johnson, who was as good as he was great, yet also refreshingly, wildly strange to the highest degree."

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Samuel Johnson: The Major Works
by Donald Greene (Editor), Samuel Johnson
anthology, guide
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According to Queeney
by Beryl Bainbridge
literary history
Boswell's Presumptuous Task: The Making of the Life of Dr. Johnson
by Adam Sisman
Keepers of the Flame: Literary Estates and the Rise of Biography
by Ian Hamilton
literary history
Samuel Johnson
by Walter Jackson Bate
The Life of Samuel Johnson
by James Boswell
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Online Books Page
Find electronic texts of The Vanity of Human Wishes, A Preface to Shakespeare, and biographies of English poets including Prior, Addison, Blackmore, Congreve, Cowley, Gay, Gray, Milton, Pope, Savage, Swift, Thomson, Waller, and Young.
The Samuel Johnson Sound Bite Page
Offers a brief biography, chronology of life events, and large database of quotations indexed by keyword and theme on such subjects as government, authority, censorship, criticism, patriotism, learning, depression, suicide, disappointment, slavery, diversity, London, memory, capital punishment, and drinking.
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February 22, 2018
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