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A look in the life and works of Samuel Johnson.

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Introduction

A LOOK INTO THE LIFE AND WORKS OF SAMUEL JOHNSON Samuel Johnson, a prominent English writer of the early eighteenth century, brought vivid life to the literary realm of that era. He is known by many to be a writer of great intellect, thought, and positive influence in the writings of literary to follow. Johnson has been hailed as a literary giant in his day, as well as in present times. Samuel Johnson is a great writer because of the critical approval of specific elements, namely satire, the moral romance, and the biography. The first element for which the critics have praised Johnson is his powerful satire. Johnson's best example of this is displayed in his work The Vanity of Human Wishes. In this highly regarded poem, Johnson intertwines moral elegance and majestic verse in this satirical masterpiece. The Vanity of Human Wishes is hailed as one of Johnson's greatest literary accomplishments. This wonderful work illustrates, according to Albert Perry Walker in his book Life of Johnson, "The futility of man's ambitious struggles for happiness..."1 Samuel Johnson had a keen sense of his surroundings, as he was a common figure in English society. ...read more.

Middle

The Arabian Nights served as Johnson's primary source of thought in developing this work. In Rasselas, "the story serves merely as the connecting thread of a series of moral disquisitions, but no attempt is made to solve the problem of life,"2 says Albert Perry Walker. As Johnson incorporates moral dilemmas in his piece, he draws parallels from The Vanity of Human Wishes. In Johnson and English Poetry Before 1660 by W. B. C. Watkins he says, "There is in all Johnson's work, scholarly, critical, creative, a striking unity, proceeding from the clarity of his mind and purpose, from the integration of personality and age. This unity, which is very important, is sometimes misinterpreted as rigid conformance to rule."3 Johnson's literary style was by all means unprecedented in that he seemed to surprise his readers by developing a basic theme and then implementing underlying principles concerning morality. Rasselas, in turn, is such a praised work in that Samuel Johnson was able to incorporate moral principles into this adventurous tale known as a moral romance. ...read more.

Conclusion

Critics were intrigued with this publication, as they had never before seen a work of literature in biographical form. To Johnson's surprise, Lives of the Poets was a hit in English society. As this masterpiece was so widely accepted, it began to filter itself down through the ages, greatly affecting many writers and readers in the years to come. Today, the biography is one of the most widely written pieces of literature. Samuel Johnson gave the world his gift of the biography in which people can freely express themselves in a written work of their life. The critical approval of his powerful satire, moral romance, and aid in the development of the modern-day biography make Samuel Johnson a great writer. Johnson gave the world his gift of literature. Through his gift, the realm of literature is held in higher regard. To be a writer is a privilege; to be a writer as gifted as Samuel Johnson is a vast world of imagination that the finite mind cannot comprehend. Samuel Johnson truly was a beacon of light for those to follow his example. Without his remarkable contributions, the greatness of Samuel Johnson would never be known, and that would be a great deprival on the part of humanity. 2 1 ...read more.

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