A Handbook devoted to the work of Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), organized in three sections that study Johnson's career, his major and lesser-known works, and the subjects that were most important to him as a writer, thinker, and moralist.
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No major author worked in more genres than Samuel Johnson—essays, poetry, fiction, criticism, biography, scholarly editing, lexicography, translation, sermons, journalism. His works are more extensive than those of any other canonical English writer, and no earlier writer's life was documented as thoroughly by contemporaries.
Because it's so difficult to know him thoroughly, people have made do with surrogates and simplifications. But Johnson was much more complicated than the popular image of 'Dr. Johnson' suggests: socially conservative but also one of the most radical abolitionists of his age, a firm believer in social hierarchy but an outspoken supporter of women intellectuals, an uncompromising Christian moralist but also a penetrating critic of family structures. Labels fit him poorly.
In The Oxford Handbook of Samuel Johnson, an international team of thirty-six scholars offers the most comprehensive examination ever attempted of one of the most complex figures in English literature. The book's first section examines Johnson's life and the texts of his works; the second, organized by genre, explores all his major works and many of his minor ones; the third, organized by topic, covers the subjects that were most important to him as a writer, as a thinker, and as a