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Samuel Johnson

Selected Essays

Samuel Johnson - Author
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Book: Paperback | 129 x 198mm | 576 pages | ISBN 9780140436273 | 27 Feb 2003 | Penguin Classics
Selected Essays

Introduction by David Womersley
Further reading, chronology and explanatory notes
Appendices relating to ‘The Rambler’

‘There is nothing more dreadful to an author than neglect, compared with which reproach, hatred and opposition are names of happiness’

With his wit, eloquence and shrewd perception of contemporary morals, Samuel Johnson was the most versatile of Augustan writers. His dictionary, dramas and poetry established his reputation, but it was the essays published in The Rambler, The Adventurer and The Idler that demonstrated the range of his talent. 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.

This new edition contains a broad selection of essays presenting both the forcefully argued moral pieces of Johnson’s middle years and the more light-hearted essays of his later work. The introduction places the works in their historical and literary context, and there is also a chronology of Johnson’s life and times.

 

Selected Essays Chronology
Introduction
Further Reading
A Note on the Texts
The Rambler (1750-52)
1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 31, 32, 33, 36, 37, 39, 41, 45, 47, 49, 60, 63, 64, 70, 71, 72, 73, 76, 77, 79, 85, 87, 90, 93, 101, 106, 108, 113, 114, 115, 121, 129, 134, 135, 137, 142, 145, 146, 148, 151, 156, 158, 159, 161, 165, 167, 168, 170, 171, 176, 181, 183, 184, 188, 191, 196, 207, 208.

The Adventurer (1753-54)
39, 45, 50, 67, 69, 84, 85, 95, 99, 102, 107, 111, 119, 126, 137, 138.

The Idler (1758-60)
1, 5, 10, 17, [22], 22, 23, 27, 30, 31, 32, 36, 38, 40, 41, 44, 48, 49, 50, 51, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 65, 66, 72, 81, 84, 88, 94, 100, 103.

Miscellaneous Essays
"A Compleat Vindication of the Licensers of the Stage" (1739)
"An Essay on Epitaphs" (1740)
"Introduction" to the Harleian Miscellany (1744)
"Observations on the present State of Affairs" (1756)
"Of the Duty of a Journalist" (1758)
"The Bravery of the English Common Soldiers" (1760)

Appendix I: Johnson's prayer on beginning The Rambler
Appendix II: Parallel texts of the original and revised states of The Rambler No. 1
Appendix III: Bonnell Thornton's parody of The Rambler
Notes

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