Samuel Johnson Essay On Shakespeare

Samuel Johnson Essay On Shakespeare-32
Johnson edited and annotated the text and wrote a preface, which is his greatest work of literary criticism.As editor and annotator he sought to establish the text, freed from later corruptions, and to explain diction that by then had become obsolete and obscure.

Johnson edited and annotated the text and wrote a preface, which is his greatest work of literary criticism.As editor and annotator he sought to establish the text, freed from later corruptions, and to explain diction that by then had become obsolete and obscure.

(1771) argued against a war with Spain over who should become “the undisputed lords of tempest-beaten barrenness.” This pamphlet, his most-admired and least-attacked, disputes the “feudal gabble” of the earl of Chatham and the complaints of the pseudonymous political controversialist who wrote the “Junius” letters.

(1774) was designed to influence an upcoming election.

Johnson’s concern for “general nature” means that he is not much interested in accidental traits of a character, such as the “Romanness” of Julius Caesar or Brutus, but in traits that are common to all humanity.

In 1765 Johnson received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Trinity College, Dublin, and 10 years later he was awarded the Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of Oxford. Johnson, though a number of his contemporaries did, and Boswell’s consistent use of the title in made it popular.

The pension Johnson had received in 1762 had freed him from the necessity of writing for a living, but it had not released him from his obligation to complete the Shakespeare edition, for which he had taken money from subscribers.

His long delay in bringing that project to fruition provoked some satiric notice from the poet The edition finally appeared in eight volumes in 1765.

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curiousity [sic] is excited; and the admirer of his works is eager to know his private opinions, his course of study, the particularities of his conduct, and, above all, whether he pursued the wisdom which he recommends, and practised the virtue which his writings inspire.

A principle of gratitude is awakened in every generous mind.


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