Samuel Johnson Essay

Samuel Johnson Essay

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Samuel Johnson, poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer, made lasing contributions to English literature was born September 18, 1709 in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England in the family home above his wealthy father‘s bookshop. His mother, Sarah Ford was 40 years old when gave birth to him. There was concern he would die in infancy but his health improved. His was plagued with illness throughout his life. As a child he had scrofula, a disease thought to be cured royalty. A physician recommended he be touched by royalty and received his royal touch from Queen Anne in 1712. The royal touch was not effective in curing Johnson and an operation was performed leaving him with scars on his face and body. A few months later his younger brother, Nathaniel was born. His father was unable to keep up with his debts and family could no longer live the style of life they had been living.
Johnson’s parents were proud of his demonstrated signs of intelligence as a child. He had the ability to memorize and recite passages at a young age. While attending Lichfield Grammar school he began to have tics and make odd gestures which would influence how people would view him upon meeting him. He excelled in his studies as a grammar school student especially Latin and was promoted to upper school at the age of nine. When he was 16 years old his future was uncertain because his father was deeply in debt resulting in him working in his father’s bookshop stitching books. He would read various works and build his literary knowledge during this time. Three years later, his mother’s cousin died and left enough money to send Johnson back to school. He attended Pembroke College in Oxford where he read excess...


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... a tour of Scotland,; he recorded their trip in A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (1775). Johnson's last great work, was the ten-volume Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, to the Works of the English Poets (also known as the Lives of the Poets ), was completed when he was seventy-two years old. It is a series of biographical and critical studies of fifty-two English poets. Johnson’s last years were
saddened by the deaths of his old friends Dr. Robert Levett, and Thrale, and by a quarrel with Thrale's widow concerning her remarriage which seemed to Johnson, inappropriate haste. Following a series of illnesses he died on December 13, 1784 and was buried at Westminster Abby. Following his death, Johnson become recognized as having a lasting effect on literary criticism and as the only great critic of English Literature.


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