Samuel Johnson and the Life of Reading

Samuel Johnson and the Life of Reading

by Robert DeMaria Jr.
     
 

In Samuel Johnson and the Life of Reading, Robert DeMaria considers the surprising influence of one of the greatest readers in English literature. Johnson's relationship to books not only reveals much about his life and times, DeMaria contends, but also provides a dramatic counterpoint to modern reading habits. As a superior practitioner of the craft,

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Overview

In Samuel Johnson and the Life of Reading, Robert DeMaria considers the surprising influence of one of the greatest readers in English literature. Johnson's relationship to books not only reveals much about his life and times, DeMaria contends, but also provides a dramatic counterpoint to modern reading habits. As a superior practitioner of the craft, Johnson provides a compelling model for how to read—indeed, he provides different models for different kinds of reading. DeMaria shows how Johnson recognized early that not all reading was alike—some requiring intense concentration, some suited for cursory glances, some requiring silence, some best appreciated amid the chatter of a coffeehouse. Considering the remarkable range of Johnson's reading, DeMaria discovers in one extraordinary career a synoptic view of the subject.

"Enacts Johnson's celebrated variation on a theme from Horace—it does not merely delight and instruct, but rather instructs by delighting us... DeMaria proves himself a reader altogether worthy of his subject."— Times Literary Supplement

"Fascinatingly perceptive both of Johnson's own reading habits and of their significance in the cultural history of reading."— Modern Language Review

"Both a scholarly and an imaginative achievement, combining detailed detective work, abstract categorization, and sympathetic understanding. The finished product re-creates the detailed fabric of Johnson's reading career while locating it in a cultural landscape of rapid publication and growing literacy... Eminently readable, learned, and thoughtful."— Modern Philology

"An intellectual history of the writer and his age."— Magill's Literary Annual

"DeMaria presents an imaginative re-creation of Johnson's library and suggests how his reading habits offered a model for preventing the disappearance of the reader."— Biblio

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Biblio

DeMaria presents an imaginative re-creation of Johnson's library and suggests how his reading habits offered a model for preventing the disappearance of the reader.

Times Literary Supplement

Enacts Johnson's celebrated variation on a theme from Horace—it does not merely delight and instruct, but rather instructs by delighting us... DeMaria proves himself a reader altogether worthy of his subject.

Modern Language Review - Allan Ingram

Fascinatingly perceptive both of Johnson's own reading habits and of their significance in the cultural history of reading.

Modern Philology - Helen Deutsch

Both a scholarly and an imaginative achievement, combining detailed detective work, abstract categorization, and sympathetic understanding. The finished product re-creates the detailed fabric of Johnson's reading career while locating it in a cultural landscape of rapid publication and growing literacy... Eminently readable, learned, and thoughtful.

Magill's Literary Annual - Joseph Rosenblum

An intellectual history of the writer and his age.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801892424
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
04/28/2009
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Lawrence Lipking

This book's strong and original starting point is to study Samuel Johnson through his activity as a reader, not as a writer. By looking at Johnson as a representative and influential reader, DeMaria helps us to understand not only one author but the history of reading itself. No one can read this book without learning a great deal about practices of reading and how they change from one age to the next.

Lawrence Lipking, Northwestern University

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