Samuel Johnson in Popular Culture Essay

Samuel Johnson in Popular Culture Essay

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Samuel Johnson is revered and considered one of the greatest writers of the eighteenth century. However, when it comes to him as a person many times he is regarded as a being disrespectful, unfair or rude. Yet, there were many instances in his life where he was quite the opposite. However, he was still perceived as being pompous or negatively because he was going against, what was the popular “accepted” culture of the time. There are two situations in particular where he took an unpopular stance on issues, those issues were: women’s rights and slavery. In both cases, Johnson separated himself from what was commonly accepted and asserted his own opinions and views based on his beliefs. Further, by comparing Johnson to contemporaries (Boswell and others) on the issue of slavery and women’s rights it becomes clearer the ways in which Johnson was resisting popular culture.
The place of women in the 18th century in Britain was similar to the place of women in early United States history, there weren’t given many rights or considered capable of having many rights. The social climate in regards to women in the 18th century was similar to slavery. Many did not think there was a problem in the way women were treated because; they too were not seen as equals to white males. Therefore, it is commonly considered that during the 18th century women’s rights were in a way stagnant. The cultural beliefs and practices of the British were what prevented many women from moving ahead or being seen as equals to men. In Britain during the eighteenth century, women had few rights and barely any value as citizens. There were no educational opportunities available to them. “Powerful men opposed the education of women beyond reading and writing their nam...


... middle of paper ...


...able to persevere and maintain his “legitimacy” in spite of his “radical” opinion shows the extent to which he was good at what he does and respected for his opinion even if he wasn’t always “accepted” for his opinion.



Works Cited

Basker, James G. "Johnson, Hawkesworth and Oroonoko." Intimatations of
Abolitionism in 1759 12 (2001): 47-66. JSTOR. Web. 3 May 2011.

Boswell, James. Life of Johnson. London: Oxford UP, 1953. Print.

Johnson, Samuel, and Jack Lynch. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary. Londres: Atlantic,
2004. Print.

Lustig, Irma S. "Boswell on Politics in The Life of Johnson." PMLA 80.4 (1965): 387-
93. JSTOR. Web. 3 May 2011.

Meyers, Jeffrey. Samuel Johnson: the Struggle. New York: Basic, 2008. Print.

Stanlis, Peter J. "Comment on Samuel Johnson and "Natural Law"" The Journal of
British Studies 2.2 (1963): 76-83. JSTOR. Web. 3 May 2011.

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