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Samuel Johnson, and arranged in alphabetical order.
Harko Gerrit De Maar: "In attacking the Spenserians, [Johnson] has the same charge [from Rymer] of the repetition of rhymes, with the usual reference to the Italians, a charge which was echoed three years later by in his Observations on the Fairy Queen of Spenser. It is instructive to find Johnson, the successor of Pope, and , his detractor, in the same boat. Here there is no divergence between the stoutest defender of the neo-classical school, and the most cogent advocate of the romantic school" History of Modern English Romanticism (1924) 40.
In spite of Johnson’s misfortune, to prepare “himself for the role as the century’s greatest man of letters,” Samuel Johnson sought education from the books in his father’s shop (Cody 2).
Johnson, with the life of the author.
She had complained ofvarious illnesses, some of them organic (and Johnson spent much of hisincome on her doctors' fees) and some of them psychological in origin.
Samuel Johnson is a great writer because of the critical approval of specific elements, namely his intellectual perspective, his broad knowledge, and his biographical interest....
With the life of the author, by Samuel Johnson.
To imitate the Fictions and Sentiments of Spencer can incur no Reproach, for Allegory is perhaps one of the most pleasing Vehicles of Instruction. But I am very far from extending the same Respect to his Diction or his Stanza. His Diction was in his own Time allowed to be vicious, darkened with old Words and Peculiarities of Phrase, and so remote from common Use, that Johnson boldly pronounces him to have written no Language. His Stanza is at once difficult and unpleasing; tiresome to the Ear by its Uniformity, and to the Attention by its Length. It was at first formed in Imitation of the Italian Poets, without due Regard to the Genius of our Language. The Italians have so little Variety of Terminations, that they were forced to contrive a Stanza which may admit the greatest Number of similar Rhimes; but our Words end with so much Diversity, that it is seldom convenient for us to bring more than two of the same Sound together. If it be justly observed by Milton, that Rhime obliges Poets to express their Thoughts in improper Words, these Improprieties must always be multiplied, as the Difficulty of Rhime is encreased by long Concatenations.
Samuel Johnson was a poor scholar who actually wrote “a scholarly edition of Shakespeare’s plays” (Shadow & Light, Tippens, Murray Walker, Weathers, 2013, p 25).
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To which is added, a sermon, written by Samuel Johnson, LL.D.
Its province is to bring about natural events by easy means, and to keep up curiosity without the help of wonder..."
Based on these passages, how do you think he is defining the novel?
Do you think Johnson's idea of the novel the same as we think of it today?
Johnson was one of the most profound literary critics of his time.
Some of his criticisms include:
The Rambler ( 1750-52) and The Idler (1758-60) were two periodicals in which Johnson wrote critical essays on literature as well as religion and morals.
The Preface (of Shakespeare) (1765) was another one of his popular literary criticisms.
The Lives of Poets (1779-81) was his last critical work.
Samuel Johnson and Frances Burney (author of Evelina) became close friends after being introduced by a mutual friend named Hester Thrale.
They shared such a close bond, that he referred to Frances as his "little Burney."
There are records in Burney's diary that talk of Johnson's praise for her novel, Evelina.
This novel written by Burney deals with "real life" situations and contains a more realistic plot than other fictional works of this era.
How do you think that Evelina compares with Johnson's standard of the ideal novel given in the Rambler No.
Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, The English Dictionary, ..
Pin by Irish Redcoat on Doctor Samuel Johnson Pinterest Samuel Johnson s Dictionary Selections from the Work That Defined the English Language Levenger Beach Fla Levenger Press New York Walker
Rambler #134, by Samuel Johnson
Johnson's table-talk: : containing aphorisms on literature, life, and manners; with anecdotes, of distinguished persons: selected and arranged from Mr.
Samuel Johnson's Rambler #134, an essay on procrastination.
O Imitatores fervum Pecus!
I have been informed by a Letter from one of the Universities, that among the Youth from whom the next Swarm of Reasoners is to learn Philosophy, and the next Flight of Beauties to hear Elegies and Sonnets, there are many who, instead of endeavouring by Books and Meditation to form their own Opinions, content themselves with the secondary Knowledge which a convenient Bench in a Coffee-house can supply, and without any Examination or Distinction adopt the Criticisms and Remarks which happen to drop from those who have risen by Merit or Fortune to Reputation and Authority.These humble Retailers of Knowledge my Correspondent stigmatizes with the Name of Echoes, and seems desirous that they should be made ashamed of implicit confidence, and lazy Submission, and animated to Attempts after new Discoveries, and original Sentiments.It is very natural for young Men to be vehement, acrimonious, and severe. For, as they seldom comprehend at once all those Consequences of a Position by which cooler and more experienced Reasoners are generally restrained from overbearing Confidence, they form their Conclusions with great Precipitance; as they see nothing that can darken or embarrass the Question, they expect to find their own Opinion universally prevalent, and are inclined to impute Uncertainty and Hesitation to Want of Honesty rather than of Knowledge. I may, perhaps, therefore be reproached when it shall be found that I have no Inclination to persecute these Collectors of fortuitous Knowledge with the Severity required; yet, as I am now too old to be much terrified or pained by hasty Censure, I shall not be afraid of taking into Protection those whom I think condemned without a sufficient Knowledge of their Cause.He that adopts the Sentiments of another, whom he has reason to believe wiser than himself, is only to be blamed when he claims the Honours which are not due but to the Author, and endeavours to deceive the World into Praise and Veneration. For, to learn is the proper Business of Youth, and whether we encrease our Knowledge by Books or by Conversation we are equally indebted to foreign Assistance.The greater Part of Students are not born with Abilities to improve Systems or advance Reason, nor can have any Hope beyond that of becoming intelligent Hearers in the Schools of Art, of being able to comprehend what others discover, and to remember what others teach. Even those to whom Providence has allotted greater Strength of Understanding, can expect only to improve some single Science. In every other Part of Learning they must be content to follow Opinions which they are not able to examine, and even in that which they claim as peculiarly their own can seldom add more than some small Particle of Knowledge to the hereditary Stock devolved to them from ancient Times, the collective Labour of a thousand Intellects.In Science, which being fixed and Limited admits of no other Variety than such as arises from new Methods of Distribution or new Arts of Illustration, the Necessity of following the Traces of our Predecessors is indisputably evident, but there appears no Reason why Imagination should be subject to the same Restraint. It might be conceived that of those who profess to forsake the narrow Paths of Truth, every one may deviate towards a different Point, since though Rectitude is uniform and fixed, Obliquity may be infinitely diversified. The Fields of Science are narrow, so that those who travel them must either follow or meet one another; but in the boundless Regions of Possibility which Fiction claims for her Dominion, there are surely a thousand Recesses unexplored, a thousand Flowers unplucked, a thousand Fountains unexhausted, Combinations of Imagery yet unobserved, and Inhabitants with Qualities not hitherto described.Yet, whatever Hope may persuade, or Reason evince, Experience can boast of very few Additions to ancient Fable. The Wars of Troy and the Travels of Ulysses have furnished almost all succeeding Poets with Incidents, Characters, and Sentiments. The Romans are confessed to have attempted little more than to display in their own Tongue the Fictions of the Greeks. There is in all their Writings such a perpetual Recurrence of Allusions to the Tales of the fabulous Age, that they must be confessed often to want that Power of giving Pleasure which Novelty supplies; nor can we wonder that they excelled so much in the Graces of Diction, when we consider how little they were employed in Search of new Thoughts.The warmest Admirers of the great Mantuan Poet can extol him for little more than the Skill with which he has, by making his Hero both a Traveller and a Warrior, united the Beauties of the Iliad and Odyssey in one Composition; yet his Judgment was perhaps sometimes overborn by his Avarice of the Homeric Treasures, and for fear of suffering a sparkling Ornament to be lost, has inserted it where it cannot shine with its original Splendor. When Ulysses visited the infernal Regions, he found among the Heroes who died at Troy, his Competitor Ajax, who, when the Arms of Achilles were adjudged to Ulysses, died by his own Hand in the Madness of Disappointment. He still appeared to resent, as on Earth, his Loss and Disgrace. Ulysses endeavoured to pacify him with Praises and Submission; but Ajax walked away without Reply. This Passage has always been considered as eminently beautiful, because Ajax the haughty Chief, the unlettered Soldier, of unshaken Courage, of immoveable Constancy, but without the Power of recommending his own Virtues by Eloquence, or enforcing his Assertions by any other Argument than the Sword, had no way of making his Resentment known but by gloomy Sullenness and dumb Ferocity. He therefore naturally showed his Hatred of a Man whom he conceived to have defeated him only by Volubility of Tongue, by Silence more contemptuous and affecting than any Words that so rude an Orator could have found, and which gave his Enemy no Opportunity of exerting the only Power in which he was superior. When Aeneas is sent by Virgil into the Regions below, he meets with Dido the Queen of Carthage, whom his Perfidy had hurried to the Grave; he accosts her with Tenderness and Excuses, but the Lady turns away like Ajax in mute Anger. She turns away like Ajax, but she resembles him in none of those Qualities which give either Dignity or Propriety to Silence. She might, without any Departure from the Tenour of her Conduct, have burst out like other injured Ladies into Clamour, Reproach, and Denunciation; but Virgil had his Imagination full of Ajax, and therefore could not prevail on himself to teach Dido any other Mode of Resentment.If Virgil could be thus seduced by Imitation there will be little Hope that common Wits should escape; and accordingly we find, that besides the universal and acknowledged Practice of copying the Ancients, there has prevailed in every Age a particular Species of Fiction. At one Time all Truth was conveyed in Allegory; at another nothing was seen but in a Vision; at one Period all the Poets followed Sheep, and every Event produced a Pastoral; at another they busied themselves wholly in giving Directions to a Painter.It is indeed easy to conceive why any Fashion should prevail by which Idleness is favoured, and Imbecility assisted; but surely no Man can much applaud himself for repeating a Tale with which the Audience is already tired, and which certainly could bring no Honour to any but its Inventor.There are, I think, two Schemes of Writing, on which the Wits of the present Age empty their Faculties. One is the Adaptation of Sense to all the Rhimes which our Language can supply to some particular Word; but this, as it has been only used in a kind of amorous Burlesque, can scarcely be censured with much Acrimony. The other is the Imitation of Spencer, which, by the Influence of some Men of Learning and Genius, seems likely to gain upon the Age, and therefore deserves to be more attentively considered.To imitate the Fictions and Sentiments of Spencer can incur no Reproach, for Allegory is perhaps one of the most pleasing Vehicles of Instruction. But I am very far from extending the same Respect to his Diction or his Stanza. His Diction was in his own Time allowed to be vicious, darkened with old Words and Peculiarities of Phrase, and so remote from common Use, that Johnson boldly pronounces him to have written no Language. His Stanza is at once difficult and unpleasing; tiresome to the Ear by its Uniformity, and to the Attention by its Length. It was at first formed in Imitation of the Italian Poets, without due Regard to the Genius of our Language. The Italians have so little Variety of Terminations, that they were forced to contrive a Stanza which may admit the greatest Number of similar Rhimes; but our Words end with so much Diversity, that it is seldom convenient for us to bring more than two of the same Sound together. If it be justly observed by Milton, that Rhime obliges Poets to express their Thoughts in improper Words, these Improprieties must always be multiplied, as the Difficulty of Rhime is encreased by long Concatenations.The Imitators of Spencer are indeed not very rigid Censors of themselves, for they seem to conclude that when they have disfigured their Lines with a few obsolete Syllables they have accomplished their Design, without considering that the Laws of Imitation are broken by every Word introduced since the Time of Spencer, as the Character of Hector is violated by quoting Aristotle in the Play. It would indeed be difficult to exclude from a long Poem all modern Phrases, though it is easy to sprinkle it with Gleanings of Antiquity. Perhaps, indeed, the Stile of Spencer might by long Labour be justly copied, but Life is surely given us for higher Purposes than to gather what our Ancestors have wisely thrown away, and to learn what is of no Value but because it has been forgotten.
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