Samuel Johnson and the Essay

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Greenwood Publishing Group, Jan 1, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 254 pages
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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.
  

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Contents

The Characteristic Essayist
1
Crossing the Genres
45
CaterCousins to the Essay
99
The Periodical Essays and the Common Reader
131
Notes
199
Bibliography
229
Index
237
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

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.

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