Samuel Johnson's Lives of the Poets Author:Samuel Johnson SAMUEL JOHNSON was approached in 1777 to undertake the writing of short biographies of the major English poets, these accounts to preface a new edition of their poetry. When Johnson completed his work, however, the LIVES were thought so extraordinary, a perfect balance of biography and criticism, that they have been published apart from the poet... more »ry ever since. Johnson first states the facts and personal characteristics of each poet's life before passing on to an estimate of the poet's work.
Today the LIVES are as famous for Johnson's style and the insight the work gives us into the ideas of a great figure as for what he tells us about Milton, Gray, or Pope. In the four-volume original, Johnson discussed 52 poets. In this selection from a great work, the only edition in paperback, Edmund Fuller has chosen those LIVES which retain the most meaning for us today, omitting only the quotations and allusions which seem superflous to the modern reader.
[Also includes Johnson's famous "Preface to Shakespeare."]« less