A new edition of a broad selection of work from the master of the essay. With his wit, eloquence, and shrewd perception of contemporary morals, Samuel Johnson was the most versatile writer of the English neoclassical period. His dictionary, dramas, and poetry established his reputation, but it was the essays that demonstrated the range of his talent. This new edition presents both the forcefully argued moral pieces of Johnson's middle years and the more light-hearted essays of his later work. Tackling ethical questions, such as the importance of self-knowledge, awareness of mortality, the role of the novel, and, in a lighter vein, marriage, sleep, and deceit, these brilliant and thought-provoking essays are a mirror of the time in which they were written and a testament to Johnson's stature as the leading man of letters of his age.
This volume contains a generous selection from the essays Johnson published twice weekly as "The Rambler" in the early 1750s. It was here that he first created the literary character and forged the distinctive prose style that established him as a public figure. Also included here is the best of Johnson's later journalism, including essays from the periodicals "The Adventurer" and "The Idler."
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Samuel Johnson (1709-84) was an English poet, novelist, critic, lexicographer, biographer, and editor. But it was his essays that made him a dominant figure in 18th century English literary life.
David Womersley is a lecturer in English at Jesus College, Oxford. He edited the authoritative three-volume edition of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, as well as the one-volume abridged edition, for Penguin Classics.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was the leading literary scholar and critic of his time. A writer of vigor, power, passion, and profundity, he helped to shape and define the Augustan Age.
David Womersley teaches at Jesus College, Oxford, and edited Gibbons The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire for Penguin Classics.
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