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Book Title: The Lives of the Poets|
The author of the book: Samuel Johnson
Edition: Oxford University Press
Date of issue: May 28th 2009
ISBN 13: 9780199226740
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.21 MB
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Here is a substantial selection of Samuel Johnson's magisterial and unforgettable portraits of the lives of the English poets of the 17th and 18th centuries. Originally covering the lives of 52 poets, with the primary focus on Milton, Dryden, Swift, and Pope, Johnson's Lives was described by Thomas Gray as a "compendious story of a whole important age in English literature, told by a great man, and in a performance which is itself a piece of English literature of the first class." Unsentimental, opinionated, and quotable, The Lives of the Poets continues to influence the reputations of the writers concerned. This selection - featuring the lives of eleven of the most important poets - draws from Roger Lonsdale's authoritative complete edition. It includes an engaging introduction, helpful notes, and an up-to-date bibliography. Its publication coincides with the 300th anniversary of Johnson's birth in September 1709.
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Read information about the authorSamuel Johnson was an English author. Beginning as a Grub Street journalist, he made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, novelist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. Johnson has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history". He is also the subject of one of the most celebrated biographies in English, James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson. Boswell's Life, along with other biographies, documented Johnson's behaviour and mannerisms in such detail that they have informed the posthumous diagnosis of Tourette syndrome (TS), a condition unknown to 18th-century physicians. He presented a tall and robust figure, but his odd gestures and tics were confusing to some on their first encounter with him.
Johnson was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, and attended Pembroke College, Oxford for a year, before his lack of funds forced him to leave. After working as a teacher he moved to London, where he began to write essays for The Gentleman's Magazine. His early works include the biography The Life of Richard Savage and the poem "The Vanity of Human Wishes." Johnson was a devout and compassionate man, whose Christian morality permeated his works. Although he was a conservative Anglican, he respected those of other denominations who demonstrated a commitment to Christ's teachings.
After nine years of work, his Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755, bringing him popularity and success; until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary, 150 years later, Johnson's was viewed as the preeminent British dictionary. In the following years, he published essays, an influential annotated edition of William Shakespeare's plays, and the well-read novel Rasselas. In 1763, he befriended James Boswell, with whom he later travelled to Scotland; Johnson's travel narrative A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland described the journey. Towards the end of his life, he produced the massive and influential Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets, which includes biographies and evaluations of 17th- and 18th-century poets. After a series of illnesses, Johnson died on the evening of 13 December 1784; he was buried in Westminster Abbey. In the years following his death, Johnson began to be recognised as having had a lasting effect on literary criticism, and even as the only great critic of English literature.
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