Monday, July 20, 2009

Why Samuel Johnson?

Johnson's reputation for weight and the sententious is not unearned, but his was a more variable genius than he is now remembered. Reading Boswell leads inevitably to reading Johnson, but sadly now there is no easy way to find the Great Man in just his more entertaining moods, the critic and lexicographer at leisure, even lazy, as here.

To read an essay from The Rambler can be to spend a not unhappy afternoon in a rectory, but one is no less likely to meet Johnson in a tavern, still abed with a book, out for a walk, or over dinner or a pot of tea.

Why Samuel Johnson? Better you should keep such company while I'm gone.

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