Samuel Johnson – Best Guide in 2023

Sam Johnson, a. k. a. The English critic, biographer, essayist, poet, and lexicographer Dr. Johnson is regarded as one of the most important individuals in 18th-century life and literature. On September 18, 1709, Johnson was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England, and he died on December 13, 1784, in London. Johnson once referred to literary biographies as “mournful narratives” and believed his life to be “radical misery.”. “. the most formidable conversationalist of his time, and a significant literary figure. For later generations, Johnson came to represent late 18th-century England. What makes his life so interesting is the contrast between his circumstances and accomplishments.
Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson

Young Age

Samuel Johnson, a son, was born to Michael Johnson, a bookseller, and his wife Sarah. When he was young, he started to experience a number of physical ailments. He was, in his own words, “almost dead” at birth and quickly contracted scrofula (lymphatic gland tuberculosis). When he was 30 months old, the queen touched him in London; he carried that gold “touch piece” around with him for the rest of his life. This was carried out because it was believed that the king’s touch could cure scrofula, which was consequently known as the king’s evil.
After that, he underwent several medical procedures, leaving him with unsightly scars on his face and neck. He was almost completely blind in his left eye, and he had very noticeable tics that might have been signs of Tourette syndrome. Johnson was also big, strong, and athletic. He continued to enjoy swimming, riding, and walking into his later years. He became enormous and very tall. Several accounts attest to his physical prowess as well as his moral courage, like the times he threw a snobby theater patron and his seat from the stage into the pit or resisted would-be robbers until the watch arrived.

Johnson was well-known for his extraordinary intelligence, as well as his pride and laziness, from a young age. In 1717, he enrolled at Lichfield Grammar School. The headmaster of the school, John Hunter, was a wise but cruel man who “never taught a boy in his life—he whipped and they learned. “. Even decades later, when the young boy saw a photo of the poet Anna Seward and her grandfather Hunter, he trembled because he was so terrified of this regime.

He made two friends in school who remained close to him all of his life: Edmund Hector, who would go on to become a surgeon, and John Taylor, who would go on to become a prebendary of Westminster and a justice of the peace for Ashbourne. In 1726, Johnson traveled to Stourbridge, Worcestershire, to see his affluent cousin Reverend Cornelius Ford. Ford may have served as a role model for Johnson, but Johnson was more attracted to Ford’s sociability and scholarship than his excess (he is believed to be one in William Hogarth’s 1733 painting A Midnight Modern Conversation, of the men shown enjoying themselves).

Early Age Writings

In 1738, Johnson began a protracted relationship with The Gentleman’s Magazine, widely regarded as the first modern magazine. Soon after, he began to contribute prose and poetry, including odes to the magazine’s editor Edward Cave and another author, the well-educated Elizabeth Carter. The fact that another Johnson was concurrently working on the same project prevented Johnson from translating The History of the Council of Trent by the Venetian Paolo Sarpi. However, The Gentleman’s Magazine published his early biographies of British admirals, European scholars, and medical experts in addition to his biography of Sarpi, which was written as the introduction to that work.

His first significant poem, London, and A Compleat Vindication of the Licensers of the Stage were among the satirical works he published in 1738 and 1739 that targeted Sir Robert Walpole’s government and even the Hanoverian monarchy. A “copy” of that piece can be found in Juvenal’s third satire, London. (Imitation, in a loose sense, is the adaptation of a previous poet’s themes and style to current events. Before leaving the dishonest city for Wales, Thales laments the general decline of London (and English) life, which is exemplified by vices like masquerades, atheism, the excise tax, and the ease with which foreign nations can transgress “English honor” without repercussion.

The poem’s most famous line and the only one written in capital letters is “SLOW RISES WORTH, BY POVERTY DEPRESSED,” which can be interpreted as Johnson’s motto at this point. When the poem first appeared in 1738 under a false name, Pope was led to believe the author would be “déterré” (unearthed). Pope undoubtedly admired Johnson’s politics and poetry, and he also made fruitless attempts to win Johnson’s support by securing patronage. The Hanover family and Walpole are made fun of by Marmor Norfolciense. In A Complete Vindication of the Licensers of the Stage, the government’s Stage Licensing Act of 1737—which prohibited the performance of Henry Brooke’s play Gustavus Vasa—is ironically defended. being performed in 1739 because it attacked the English king and his prime minister using a Swedish analogy and demanded the lord chamberlain’s approval of all new plays. The final two works highlight the literary influence of Irish author Jonathan Swift.

Related Posts

Donald Trump – Best Guide in 2023

Barack Obama – Best Guide in 2023

George Washington – Best Guide in 2023

Leave a Comment