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With his wit, eloquence, and shrewd perception of contemporary morals, Samuel Johnson was the most versatile writer of the English neoclassical period. His dictionary, dramas, and poetry established his reputation, but it was the essays that demonstrated the range of his talent. This new edition presents both the forcefully argued moral pieces of Johnson's middle years and the more light-hearted essays of his later work. Tackling ethical questions-such as the importance of self-knowledge, awareness of mortality, the role of the novel, and, in a lighter vein, marriage, sleep, and deceit-these brilliant and thought-provoking essays are a mirror of the time in which they were written and a testament to Johnson's stature as the leading man of letters of his age.