Samuel Johnson: Literature, Religion and English Cultural Politics from the Restoration to Romanticism

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This book offers an analysis of the life and thought of the writer Samuel Johnson from an historian's viewpoint, reversing the orthodoxy which has dominated the subject for over thirty years. Jonathan Clark, who has written extensively on English and American religion, ideology and politics in the eighteenth century, presents here a Johnson strikingly different from the apolitical, pragmatic and eccentric figure who emerges from the pages of most students of English literature. Johnson's commitments and conflicts in religion and politics, obscured since Macaulay, are reconstructed; his role in the literary dynamics of his age is revealed against a new context for English cultural politics between the Restoration and the age of Romanticism. This book will therefore be of interest not only to Johnsonians but to historians of ideas and students of English literature.