Samuel Johnson

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Mind Map by gen marconette, updated more than 1 year ago
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Created by gen marconette over 5 years ago
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overview of Samuel Johnson & "Preface to Shakespeare"
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Samuel Johnson
1 a contemporary of Pope (1709-1784)
2 known as the father of the English Dictionary
2.1 from 1747-1755 he wrote Dictionary of English Language; his goal was to standardize the chaotic English tongue
3 His principle of criticism is similar to Horace; believes a literary work is a piece of rhetoric to be judged by the impact it makes upon the audience
3.1 "The end of writing is to instruct; the end of poetry is to instruct by pleasing" (from Preface to Shakespeare)
3.1.1 Believed poetry must be deeply true to life, not because art is a matter of imitation, but because the truth of accurate representation holds us longer than any other art
3.1.1.1 "...the business of the poet...is to examine not the individual, but the species; to remark general properties and large appearances: he does not number the streaks of the tulip" (from Rasselas)
3.1.1.1.1 If the literary work is to please a universal audience it must deal broadly with the world we all know, not with special issues of interest to a few.
4 "Preface to Shakespeare"
4.1 Johnson is offended by Shakespeare's amorality
4.1.1 "tragedy seems to be [Shakespeare's] skill, his comedy to be instinct"
4.1.1.1 Johnson believed Shakespeare's greatness is rescued only by his surpassing universality & trueness to life
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