Samuel Johnson and the Essay

Samuel Johnson and the Essay

by Robert D. Spector

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Overview

Samuel Johnson and the Essay by Robert D. Spector

When Samuel Johnson is discussed as an essayist, his Rambler and Idler are generally the works that are considered. This is the first study to take account of the effect of Johnson's essayistic talents on the entirety of his writing. Setting forth the particular characteristics of the genre that are present in Johnson's contributions to the political controversies of his time, this analysis examines those qualities of Johnson's thought and methods that naturally led to his dependence on the essay form in polemical engagements throughout his career. In detail, Spector's study then goes on to explore the manner in which Johnson employed the essay not only in forms normally related to the genre, but in literary types ordinarily considered remote from it. The Rambler and Idler, along with Johnson's periodical essays in the Adventurer, are themselves looked at from a fresh point of view—the ways in which Johnson the professional writer, without regard for posterity, addressed the interests of the common reader of his century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780313297755
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 04/30/1997
Series: Contributions to the Study of World Literature Series
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)
Lexile: 1750L (what's this?)

About the Author

ROBERT D. SPECTOR is Professor Emeritus of English and coordinator of both the divisions of Humanities and of Communications, Fine and Performing Arts at Long Island University in Brooklyn. Author of more than 400 articles and reviews, he has published ten books, nine on eighteenth century topics. Previous books include Smollett's Women: A Study in an Eighteenth-Century Masculine Sensibility (1994), Political Controversy: A Study in Eighteenth-Century Propaganda (1992), Backgrounds to Restoration and Eighteenth-Century English Literature: An Annotated Bibliographical Guide to Modern Scholarship (1989), and The English Gothic: A Bibliographic Guide to Writers from Horace Walpole to Mary Shelley (1984), all published by Greenwood.

Table of Contents

The Characteristic Essayist

Crossing the Genres

"Cater-Cousins" to the Essay

The Periodical Essays and the Common Reader

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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