Author: Stefan Scheuermann
ISBN 978-1-62137-911-9 (softcover)
The evolving image of the 18th century English literary giant, Dr. Samuel Johnson, was employed copiously in the fiction and essays of the Romantic and Victorian Periods. References to Johnson were intended to carry profound weight in the narratives, on the assumption of their common understanding. Although still popular today, these narratives have lost much of their initial power due to cultural evolution. A biographical study of Johnson’s life does not return to current readers the full weight of the many Johnson references, neither does a critical survey of Johnson’s writing. It is necessary to pinpoint the public image of Johnson at the time that the references were made, as it stood in the minds of the writers who used the image to their literary ends and to their intended audiences. This book traces Johnson’s public image with triangulations of many sources and various references to Johnson by literary figures who both describe and prescribe the Johnsonian image with their literary uses of the icon.
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