HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Dr Samuel Johnson, born 18 September 1709
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life …”
If you manage a trip to London, do not miss out on visiting the home of Dr Samuel Johnson. It’s a wonderful Georgian house and the only one of his London homes to have survived, and today it is a really excellent museum. Up in the attic you can see where Dr Johnson worked for years on his great dictionary, the first good dictionary of the English language, which he published in 1755. You can see where he entertained his many literary guests, and drank tea (he described himself as a “hardened and shameless tea drinker”, often indulging in 23 cups in one sitting!).
Dr Johnson was enormously influential, so it is important to read biographies of his fascinating life, and to know something of the essays he wrote for The Rambler, his biographies, his travel book about the journey he took in Scotland with his friend, and future biographer, James Boswell, and his poems. He was a very versatile writer, and he knew everyone who mattered in the literary world of the 18thC.
If you wish to learn more about this towering literary figure, there is an excellent biography of him by Peter Martin, and many books about his friendships and influence.
Dr Johnson died on 13 December 1784, aged 75.
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