Samuel Johnson

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ISBN 9780571226368 Format Paperback
9780571226368
Paperback
Published 05/08/2010 Length 448 pages
448

About Book

Johnson, born weak and half-blind, shambolic and poverty-stricken, became the most admired and quoted man in the eighteenth century. Thrown out of Oxford for a lack of funds, he rose to celebrity: author of the Dictionary, a friend to the king, companion of Reynolds, Goldsmith and Garrick.

David Nokes looks beyond Johnson's remarkable public persona and beyond the Johnson that Boswell to some extent created. Nokes looks at his troubled relationship with his first wife, whom he married for money but felt guilty about for the rest of his life; at his family, who haunted his dreams for years; and at his difficult, intimate relationship with Mrs Thrale. He shows a man who gave a quarter of the government pension he received to the poor, filled his home with the blind and destitute, and bequeathed his wealth to Frank Barber, an emancipated black slave brought from Jamaica. Insightful and engaging, Samuel Johnson draws an illuminating portrait of Johnson, his life and world.

Johnson, born weak and half-blind, shambolic and poverty-stricken, became the most admired and quoted man in the eighteenth century. Thrown out of Oxford for a lack of funds, he rose to celebrity: author of the Dictionary, a friend to the king, companion of Reynolds, Goldsmith and Garrick.David Nokes looks beyond Johnson's remarkable public persona and beyond the Johnson that Boswell to some extent created. Nokes looks at his troubled relationship with his first wife, whom he married for money but felt guilty about for the rest of his life; at his family, who haunted his dreams for years; and at his difficult, intimate relationship with Mrs Thrale. He shows a man who gave a quarter of the government pension he received to the poor, filled his home with the blind and destitute, and bequeathed his wealth to Frank Barber, an emancipated black slave brought from Jamaica. Insightful and engaging, Samuel Johnson draws an illuminating portrait of Johnson, his life and world.
  • About David Nokes

    David Nokes was for many years a professor of English Literature at King's College London, where he taught eighteenth-century literature and pioneered the Creative Writing course. His books include Jonathan Swift, A Hypocrite Reversed, which won the James Tait Black Memorial prize in 1985, and biographies of John Gay (1995), Jane Austen (1997) and Samuel Johnson (2009). His adaptation of Clarissa for BBC TV was nominated for a Bafta award in 1991. David Nokes died in 2009.

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