Preface to Shakespeare (Dodo Press)
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Preface to Shakespeare (Dodo Press)

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  83 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), often referred to simply as Dr Johnson, was one of England's greatest literary figures: a poet, essayist, biographer, lexicographer and a critic of English literature. He was also a great wit and prose stylist, well known for his aphorisms. Between 1745 and 1755, Johnson wrote perhaps his best-known work, A Dictionary of the English Language. Du...more
Paperback, 68 pages
Published July 13th 2007 by Dodo Press (first published 1778)
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Momina Masood
A very eloquent panegyric of the great bard that quickly disintegrates into the most blatant of digressions about editors and annotators and I have no idea what else. I was lost near the end of the essay. Then you have Johnson's notes and sparse commentary on some of Shakespeare's most famous plays which I didn't find especially illuminating. The first half, though, was not altogether intolerable: Johnson writes why is it that Shakespeare has withstood the test of time (because we find in him an...more
Lawrence
Feb 23, 2014 Lawrence marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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Adam Floridia
Nothing that will blow your hair back, but a very insightful critique of Shakespeare's genius AND his faults.

"A quibble [or pun] is to Shakespeare what luminous vapors are to the traveler: he follows it at all adventures; it is sure to lead him out of his way, and sure to engulf him in mire. It has some malignant power over his mind, and its fascinations are irresistible."
Carmen
Johnson claims that Shakespeare is good and true because he elevates the common and transcends the everyday. His characters and situations are derived from man's general nature, therefore his works act as a "mirror of life." Johnson's appraisal is pretty accurate and it is interesting to read how the English looked at Shakespeare in the eighteenth century.
Danica Page (One Page at a Time)
I actually enjoyed this one more than I enjoyed some of the other books I've read for my theory class. Samuel Johnson's claims are very interesting and I enjoyed reading this more than most of the books I've read for this class lately.
Adam
there has yet to be a more succint summation of the Bard's positives and negatives, even though some of Johnson's concerns are really dated and useful only historically.
Elizabeth
I tolerate Shakespeare. I loathe Shakespeare criticism.

Also. Blargh.
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Samuel Johnson was an English author. Beginning as a Grub Street journalist, he made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, novelist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. Johnson has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history". He is also the subject of one of the most celebrated biographies in English,...more
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“The end of writing is to instruct; the end of poetry is to instruct by pleasing.” 3 likes
“The opinions prevalent in one age, as truths above the reach of controversy, are confuted and rejected in another, and rise again to reception in remoter times. Thus the human mind is kept in motion without progress. ” 3 likes
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