By Jeffrey Meyers
Drawing on a life of learn of Johnson and his period, in addition to a wide range of recent archival fabrics, famous biographer Jeffrey Meyers tells the intense tale of 1 of the good geniuses of English letters. Johnson emerges in his portrait as a mass of contradictions: lazy and lively, competitive and delicate, depression and witty, comforted but stricken by faith. He used to be bodily repulsive and slovenly in gown and conduct, yet his social principles have been innovative and humane—he strongly adverse slavery and the imperial exploitation of indigenous peoples. He gave generously to the negative and homeless, rescued prostitutes, and defended criminals who’d been condemned to hold. yet those charitable acts couldn't dispel the darkness that clouded his global: overwhelming guilt and worry of everlasting damnation.
A masterful portrait of a super and tormented determine, this publication reintroduces a brand new new release of readers to the heroic Dr. Johnson.
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Extra info for Samuel Johnson: The Struggle
7 With gifted students like John Meeke, his main rival, he felt extremely envious and competitive. Meeke had such a good grasp of Latin grammar and clear understanding of the poetry, and recited so Meyers_Text_Version7:Layout 1 40 7/2/08 11:24 AM Page 40 SAMUEL JOHNSON well in tutorials, that Sam couldn’t bear his superiority. He tried to sit as far from him as possible so he wouldn’t have to hear him. Sam not only neglected his own work, but also distracted his classmates. The Lichfield schoolmaster, John Hunter, had beaten him for “lounging” instead of working.
He had no intention of changing the habits of a lifetime to satisfy the whims of customers. Though Sam occasionally used the cathedral lending library, he had his own vast library at home. In addition to his usual stock, in 1706 and with borrowed money, Michael had rather rashly purchased the 3,000volume library of the earl of Derby. Johnson, who used Turks to represent extreme fanaticism or sexual license, said that when sleepless in bed he read like a Turk. He devoured books with deadly seriousness, in the same way that he devoured food.
Hervey, who later reformed and became a clergyman, was the first in a long line of rakes to whom Johnson was strongly attracted: Richard Savage, Topham Beauclerk, James Boswell and John Wilkes. Johnson later remarked that Hervey “was a vicious man, but very kind to me. ” In Johnson’s time, when the average height of an Englishman was five feet, five inches, only three men in a thousand reached his impressive height of five feet, eleven. Johnson also had, and retained throughout his life, a distinct Staffordshire accent.