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13838656 No.13838656 [Reply] [Original]

Say happy birthday to Samuel Johnson and drop some quotes and recommendations.

>> No.13838793

>>13838656
>atheists vs religitards
>reeeee wimmin
>i'm so sad here i've posted a picture of a sad looking frog to prove it
ten billion replies
>thread about one of the most important writers in the english language ever
zero
i fucking hate this board
i guess there is never room in the world for more than a certain quantity or measure of renown

>> No.13838798

The man, the meme, the legend. Happy brithday

>> No.13838832

Preface to Shakespeare might be the most important bit of criticism in English literature
Rasselas is actually a little shit. Weird how someone so immersed and devoted to literature wasn't that great at producing it

>> No.13838841

'It is well known that there was formerly a rude custom for those who were sailing upon the Thames, to accost each other as they passed, in the most abusive language they could invent, generally, however, with as much satirical humour as they were capable of producing. Addison gives a specimen of this ribaldry, in Number 383 of The Spectator, when Sir Roger de Coverly and he are going to Spring-garden. Johnson was once eminently successful in this species of contest; a fellow having attacked him with some coarse raillery, Johnson answered him thus, "Sir, your wife, under pretence of keeping a bawdy-house, is a receiver of stolen goods."

>> No.13838851
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13838851

>> No.13839699

>>13838656
"Politicians remark, that no oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of legal authority. The robber may be seized, and the invader repelled, whenever they are found; they who pretend no right but that of force, may by force be punished or suppressed. But when plunder bears the name of impost, and murder is perpetrated by a judicial sentence, fortitude is intimidated, and wisdom confounded: resistance shrinks from an alliance with rebellion, and the villain remains secure in the robes of the magistrate."

>> No.13839926

>>13838841
Someone explain

>> No.13839999
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13839999

>>13838656
Happy birthday to the mad lad. I hope he's up there somewhere, laughing and weeping for us.

>>13839699
BASED

>> No.13840780
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13840780

All of /lit/ should read the Rambler, Idler, and Adventurer essays, they're full of really great, practical life advice. Johnson also seems to have suffered from depression, and many of the essays are about living with and working through what he called "melancholy." So they're very relevant even today.

>> No.13840809

>>13838656
Hey he’s got the same name as me

>> No.13840850
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13840850

"When a man's tired of London, he's tired of life."
Aimed, I think, at people who think they know big cities inside and out without actually exploring them fully. Happy fucking birthday Doctor Johnson.

>> No.13840861

>>13840850
More like when you grow tired of a place with seemingly endless possibilities and distractions from life, you’ve grown tired of “it”.

>> No.13840891
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13840891

Happy birthday sammy
I've not read anything of his but I picked up a copy of his biography recently, am I okay to start with that or should I read his books first?
Any recs anons?

>> No.13840941

>>13840861
Ah that does make more sense.

>> No.13842183

>>13840891
Boswell's Life of Johnson is enormous and it will probably take you months to read, but it's absolutely worth it. The really good parts don't start until about a third of the way into the book; that's about the time in Johnson's life when Boswell actually meets him, and from then on out Boswell is very careful to record Johnson's conversation whenever they're together. Johnson is a riot, it's fun to hear him talk about things like Hindus and politics and Milton's Paradise Lost.

>> No.13842856

>>13840891
Try his Lives of the Poets.

>> No.13842860

Is the Life of Samuel Johnson worth reading?

>> No.13843121

>>13842860
100% yes, it's very entertaining. Be aware that Boswell is an incredibly non-objective narrator, and he's constantly trying to filter Johnson in a way that makes himself look good. But this only makes the book more entertaining, and his recordings of Johnson's conversation are generally authentic.

>> No.13843304
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13843304

>>13840891
Boswell’s Life is my favorite book. Particularly once Boswel himself meets Johnson, there is quite literally never a dull page. Johnson’s views on his contemporaries and other literary figures, amusing anecdotes and letters (like his constant teasing of Mrs Boswell), and some very touching bits (I’m thinking especially of his conversation with Burke at Dr. Johnson’s deathbed). I cannot recommend it highly enough.

To demonstrate, I have opened my copy entirely at random and found this (on pg. 845 of the Oxford World Classics edition):

>If (said he) I had no duties, and no reference to futurity, I would spend my life in driving briskly in a post-chaise with a pretty woman; but she should be one who could understand me, and would add something to the conversation.

>> No.13843356

>>13838851
How did he do it? His dictionary baffles me. The amount of work that must have been.

>> No.13843372

>>13843356
ADAMS: But, Sir, how can you do this in three years?

JOHNSON: Sir, I have no doubt that I can do it in three years.

ADAMS: But the French Academy, which consists of forty members, took forty years to compile their Dictionary.

JOHNSON: Sir, thus it is. This is the proportion. Let me see; forty times forty is sixteen hundred. As three to sixteen hundred, so is the proportion of an Englishman to a Frenchman.'

With so much ease and pleasantry could he talk of that prodigious labour which he had undertaken to execute.

>> No.13843471

>>13842183
>>13843304
Is there a better name than Topham Beauclerck?

>> No.13843482

Letter to Lord Chesterfield:

"
My Lord: February 1755
I have been lately informed by the proprietor of the World that two Papers in which my Dictionary is recommended to the Public were written by your Lordship. To be so distinguished is an honour which, being very little accustomed to favours from the Great, I know not well how to receive, or in what terms to acknowledge.

When upon some slight encouragement I first visited your Lordship I was overpowered like the rest of Mankind by the enchantment of your address, and could not forbear to wish that I might boast myself Le Vainqueur du Vainqueur de la Terre, that I might obtain that regard for which I saw the world contending, but I found my attendance so little incouraged, that neither pride nor modesty would suffer me to continue it. When I had once addressed your Lordship in public, I had exhausted all the Art of pleasing which a retired and uncourtly Scholar can possess. I had done all that I could, and no Man is well pleased to have his all neglected, be it ever so little.

Seven years, My lord have now past since I waited in your outward Rooms or was repulsed from your Door, during which time I have been pushing on my work through difficulties of which it is useless to complain, and have brought it at last to the verge of Publication without one Act of assistance, one word of encouragement, or one smile of favour. Such treatment I did not expect, for I never had a Patron before.

The Shepherd in Virgil grew at last acquainted with Love, and found him a Native of the Rocks. Is not a Patron, My Lord, one who looks with unconcern on a Man struggling for Life in the water and when he has reached ground encumbers him with help. The notice which you have been pleased to take of my Labours, had it been early, had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent and cannot enjoy it, till I am solitary and cannot impart it, till I am known, and do not want it."

>> No.13843491

>>13843471
Is there a worse name than Colley Cibber?

>> No.13843500

>>13843491
definitely not Hodge
"Nor would it be just, under this head, to omit the fondness which he shewed for animals which he had taken under his protection. I never shall forget the indulgence with which he treated Hodge, his cat: for whom he himself used to go out and buy oysters, lest the servants having that trouble should take a dislike to the poor creature. I am, unluckily, one of those who have an antipathy to a cat, so that I am uneasy when in the room with one; and I own, I frequently suffered a good deal from the presence of this same Hodge. I recollect him one day scrambling up Dr. Johnson's breast, apparently with much satisfaction, while my friend smiling and half-whistling, rubbed down his back, and pulled him by the tail; and when I observed he was a fine cat, saying, 'Why yes, Sir, but I have had cats whom I liked better than this;' and then as if perceiving Hodge to be out of countenance, adding, 'but he is a very fine cat, a very fine cat indeed.'

This reminds me of the ludicrous account which he gave Mr. Langton, of the despicable state of a young Gentleman of good family. 'Sir, when I heard of him last, he was running about town shooting cats.' And then in a sort of kindly reverie, he bethought himself of his own favourite cat, and said, 'But Hodge shan't be shot; no, no, Hodge shall not be shot.'"

>> No.13843519

>>13840780
I like the word melancholy instead of depressed. Seems more indicative of the state of mind.

>> No.13843529

>>13838656

Happy birthday Samuel. You are a great and insightful person! you bring me joy and perspective on life.

>> No.13843531

"Next day, Sunday, July 31, I told him I had been that morning at a meeting of the people called Quakers, where I had heard a woman preach. JOHNSON. 'Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are surprized to find it done at all.'"

>> No.13843556
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13843556

>>13843500
He was really our guy.

"I never knew any man who relished good eating more than he did. When at table, he was totally absorbed in the business of the moment; his looks seemed rivetted to his plate; nor would he, unless when in very high company, say one word, or even pay the least attention to what was said by others, till he had satisfied his appetite, which was so fierce, and indulged with such intenseness, that while in the act of eating, the veins of his forehead swelled, and generally a strong perspiration was visible. To those whose sensations were delicate, this could not but be disgusting; and it was doubtless not very suitable to the character of a philosopher, who should be distinguished by self-command."

>> No.13843675

>>13838793
Your presence, like fish, begins to smell after the third day.

>> No.13843804
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13843804

>>13843531
Yeah, everyone should read the Life of Johnson, it's full of fantastic stuff like this. Johnson is a fucking riot. I love it when Boswell puts him up to talking about ghosts constantly, so much so that the third edition of the Life included a note from the editor explaining that the entire reason there's so much talk about ghosts in the Life is that Boswell constantly pestered Johnson to talk about them. Boswell was an early /x/ poster.

>> No.13844070

>>13843675
Lmfao

>> No.13844945
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13844945

>>13843304
But Boswell was a faggot though, fuck that self indulgent, coward who could not live in his own shoes.

I would always have respects for Mr Johnson for he took the hard road to self preservation, to be himself above all. Whereas Boswell sought to indulge in his depression and melancholy and he did just that in his journals and essays carried by the Spectator.

>> No.13845302

Would love to hear anon's opinion on the abridged versus unabridged versions of Boswell's Life

>> No.13845347

>>13843804
>Boswell was an early /x/ poster.
Johnson believed Scottish crofters had second sight

>> No.13845372

>>13843121
Awesome
I just ordered it
Was Johnson a bant-Master or something?

>> No.13845674

>>13839926
I'm thinking shotgun marriage, and await other interpretations.

>> No.13845688

>>13843482
Burn, baby, burn.

>> No.13845765

>>13845372
Essentially. Johnson’s Club was what we all wish /lit/ could be. A place where brilliant, learned men could discuss literature, philosophy, religion, and ephemera while constantly making jokes, drinking, and teasing one another. Johnson, Goldsmith, Burke, Reynolds, Boswell, Garrick, and the others were each titans in their respective fields, which is why bringing them together makes the Life of Johnson such good reading. He was a great writer and critic, but his personality shines forth best as a kind of public sage and conversationalist.

>> No.13845909

>>13845302
Seconding this

>> No.13846249

>>13845302
>>13845909
I would be wary of an abridged edition. The unabridged at least gives you the option of reading everything or skipping those parts which you personally do not find interesting, whereas in an abridgment, the editor has already removed those parts which he found dull or unimportant. I'd much rather have that choice than have it already made for me. Particular in a work like Boswell's Life, there is such a variety of material that it's very difficult for an editor to know in advance what each reader will actually find interesting. Most people are probably looking for Johnson's table talk, his conversations with interesting people on interesting subjects, but the book also contains letters, digressions on Boswell's own thoughts and life, descriptions of Johnson and other's written works, and so on. You can always skim or skip a section that you find dull, whereas if it's already been removed, you might completely miss something that would have been fascinating.

I think these problems with abridgment are particular strong in a work like this as opposed to a novel. In a novel, an editor could in theory pick out the central plot line and cut everything else. But here, how would you determine what the central point of the book is? Despite his reputation, Johnson was much more than just a great talker, which you might miss entirely if you get an abridgment that only includes his wittiest or most profound sayings.

>> No.13846618

ON what foundations stands the warrior’s pride,
How just his hopes, let Swedish Charles decide:
A frame of adamant, a soul of fire,
No dangers fright him, and no labors tire;
O’er love, o’er fear, extends his wide domain, 5
Unconquered lord of pleasure and of pain.
No joys to him pacific sceptres yield,
War sounds the trump, he rushes to the field;
Behold surrounding kings their power combine,
And one capitulate, and one resign; 10
Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in vain;
“Think nothing gained,” he cries, “till naught remain,
On Moscow’s walls till Gothic standards fly,
And all be mine beneath the polar sky.”
The march begins in military state, 15
And nations on his eye suspended wait;
Stern famine guards the solitary coast,
And winter barricades the realms of frost.
He comes, nor want nor cold his course delay;
Hide, blushing glory, hide Pultowa’s day! 20
The vanquished hero leaves his broken bands,
And shows his miseries in distant lands;
Condemned a needy supplicant to wait,
While ladies interpose and slaves debate.
But did not chance at length her error mend? 25
Did no subverted empire mark his end?
Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound,
Or hostile millions press him to the ground?
His fall was destined to a barren strand,
A petty fortress, and a dubious hand; 30
He left the name, at which the world grew pale,
To point a moral or adorn a tale.

>> No.13846724

>>13845765
I may forego reaching my goal of 25 books this year just to push this to the front of my stack. It sounds like so much fun

>> No.13846956

>>13845765
I do think Johnson's a bit underrated as a critic these days, though. His ideas about art and literature are very good, in my opinion. I particularly like when he writes about "originality" and "invention," and talks about how to do them properly, and how they're both essential in art.

>> No.13847047

>>13838793
you're such a fucking faggot. instead of complaining like a woman why dont you distill from dr johnsons massive body of work a few good ideas that have value to you and you think other people would care to hear. I dare you to actually do something for once instead of just signalling, bitch.

>> No.13847365

sometimes i imagine if he woud´ve been a good movie critic

>> No.13847404

>>13846956
>I do think Johnson's a bit underrated as a critic these days
By whom? He's pretty much considered the greatest critic in English.

>> No.13847528

>>13840850
>>13840861
i think both are correct. when i had a taste for life i liked london, and now i'm growing very tired of both.

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