Samuel Johnson: the son of a petty bookseller, who became the great writer

308 years ago-born British literary critic, lexicographer and poet Samuel Johnson. Despite humble origins and financial situation, as well as Tourette’s syndrome and poor eyesight, he became one of the brightest figures of the era of Enlightenment. Today, Google has dedicated to him the front page of its search engine.

A portrait of the writer of the authorship of Joshua Reynolds.

In the early stages of his work Samuel Johnson wrote a number of satirical works in imitation of the Roman poet Juvenal. The first of them earned the praise of Alexander Pope, one of the major authors of British classicism.

One of the main merits of the writer called explanatory dictionaries of the English language, which brought Johnson the degree of master of arts the University of Oxford. It was the first dictionary in the history of English literature, the terms of which were illustrated by quotations of famous people. The preparation of the publication took only seven years is too short for work of this size, especially if the fate of that dictionary was compiled and edited by Johnson alone. Although in the original dictionary contained some errors and were skipped words, the experts assess the role of this work is very high — he had a key influence on the development of the English language and was used in the preparation of a considerable part of the dictionary, issued at a later date. By the way, during the work on the dictionary has largely revised his views that he and Johnson — originally it adhered to the popular in his time the idea of “fixing” the language, and even hoped that his work will contribute to that, but over time became convinced that language change cannot be stopped.

Subsequently, Johnson published a number of philosophical works and biographies, which had a great influence on his contemporaries.

Samuel Johnson is attributed to popular from the late eighteenth century aphorism “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” It is believed that the phrase he uttered in the Literary club April 7, 1775. This is stated in a two-volume edition of “the Life of Samuel Johnson,” written by Scottish writer James Boswella. At the same time as the author of biographies of Johnson, and many other professionals agree that the existence of sincere patriotism, the writer also completely believed.

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