The modern reputation of Samuel Johnson
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More attention is now being paid Samuel Johnson than at any time since the years immediately following his death. The object of this dissertation is to clarify his reputation as man and as writer through systematizaton of the majority of the almost two thousand studies written since 1887, the year that George Birkbeck Hill published his edition of Boswell's Life. The vitality of Johnson's reputation can be seen in many ways. The latter half of the eighteenth century has been called "The Age of Johnson." Critics have traditionally considered him a literary dictator, although it is now known that England has never had a man who could claim such absolute power over her letters. Homage has been paid him through the founding of clubs, the making of pilgrimages to sites associated with him, and the collecting of souvenirs. He has been compared and contrasted with diverse figures from history and fiction. Apocryphal stories have been told about him, and he has often been the subject of imaginary conversations, plays, and novels. Johnson has been made symbolic of the eighteenth century by many who think of the period as a time of peace and contentment. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University
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