Selected Writings

Selected Writings

Book - 2009
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Harvard University Press

Thanks to Boswell’s monumental biography of Samuel Johnson, we remember Dr. Johnson today as a great wit and conversationalist, the rationalist epitome and the sage of the Enlightenment. He is more often quoted than read, his name invoked in party conversation on such diverse topics as marriage, sleep, deceit, mental concentration, and patriotism, to generally humorous effect. But in Johnson’s own day, he was best known as an essayist, critic, and lexicographer: a gifted writer possessed of great force of mind and wisdom. Writing a century after Johnson, Ruskin wrote of Johnson’s essays: He “taught me to measure life, and distrust fortune…he saved me forever from false thoughts and futile speculations.” Peter Martin here presents “the heart of Johnson,” a selection of some of Johnson’s best moral and critical essays. At the center of this collection are the periodical essays from the Rambler, Adventurer, and Idler. Also included are Johnson’s great moral fable, Rasselas; the Prefaces to the Dictionary and his edition of Shakespeare; and selections from Lives of the Poets. Together, these works—allied in their literary, social, and moral concerns—are the ones that continue to speak urgently to readers today.

Baker & Taylor
Published to commemorate the influential essayist's 300th birthday, a volume of top-selected moral and critical essays includes his periodical writings from the Rambler, Adventurer, and Idler; the fable, Rasselas; and selections from Lives of the Poets.

Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009
ISBN: 9780674035850
Branch Call Number: 828.6 JOH
Characteristics: 503 p
Additional Contributors: Martin, Peter 1940-


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Jun 08, 2019

It must be difficult to make a judicious selection from such a prolific author, but this selection is about as good as selections can get. I most liked the essays which comprise the first half of the book - its a pleasure to read, and instructive too. The quality of paper and the layout of the page never make the reading feel intruded upon by the physical means of its delivery. Lengthy bibliographies and notes that are not overly extensive.

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