The Cambridge Companion to Samuel Johnson

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The Cambridge Companion to Samuel Johnson, first published in 1997, provides an introduction to the works and intellectual life of one of the most challenging and wide-ranging writers in English literary history. Compiler of the first great English dictionary, editor of Shakespeare, biographer and critic of the English poets, author both of the influential journal Rambler and the popular fiction Rasselas, and one of the most engaging conversationalists in literary culture, Johnson is here illuminatingly discussed from a different point of view. Essays on his main works are complemented by thematic discussion of his views on the experience of women in the eighteenth century, politics, imperialism, religion, and travel as well as by chapters covering his life, conversation, letters, and critical reception. Useful reference features include a chronology and guide to further reading. The keynote to the volume is the seamlessness of Johnson's life and writing, and the extraordinary humane intelligence he brought to all his activities. Accessibly written by a distinguished group of international scholars, this volume supplies a stimulating range of approaches, making Johnson newly relevant for our time.