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Samuel Johnson and the Life of Writing ebook

by Paul Fussell


Boswell's book on Samuel Johnson stands on its own. Fussell's book is beautifully written, acutely observant .

Boswell's book on Samuel Johnson stands on its own. Fussell's book is beautifully written, acutely observant, and gives a felt sense of the times and the person of his subject. One can read either book independent of the other. But to read them both is a fuller literary experience.

Fussell, Paul, Samuel Johnson and the Life of Writing (London: Chatto & Windus, 1972). Baldwin, Louis, ‘The Conversation in Boswell’s Life of Johnson’, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 51 (1952), 492-506. Greene, D. e. Samuel Johnson: A Collection of Critical Essays (Engle-wood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1965). Korshin, Paul, e. The Age of Johnson: A Scholarly Annual (New York: AMS Press, 1987-).

Aug 23, 2012 David rated it it was ok. Shelves: abandoned. I have tried to read this book 2 or 3 times and can not stick with it and don't know if I'll ever finish. Jul 23, 2012 False rated it it was ok.

Fussell's 1975 literary study The Great War and Modern Memory won the National Book Award in category Arts and Letters. Samuel Johnson and the Life of Writing. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich

Fussell's 1975 literary study The Great War and Modern Memory won the National Book Award in category Arts and Letters. the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award of Phi Beta Kappa. It was ranked number 75 in the Modern Library's Board's List of the 100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.

Bibliographic information. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1971.

Johnson was engaged, according to Dr. Fussell's entertaining monograph, in savagely honest exercises in this world's significations and the obligations attendant on the next. Pragmatic, empirical. Bibliographic information. the University of Michigan.

Fussell, Paul, 1924-2012. A life radically wretched" - The facts of writing and the Johnsonian senses of literature - The force of genre - The sacrament of authorship - Writing as imitation - "The anxious employment of a periodical writer" - Writing a dictionary - "The choice of life" - The irony of literary careers.

Paul Fussell, professor of English at Rutgers, can use contemporary references bril liantly. He not only makes a good case for black humor in the macabre moralism of Samuel Johnson's Lives of the Poets, but convincingly traces this strain in him to a famil iarity with Suetonius. One is reminded of the glee with which Evelyn Waugh collected gossipy proofs of man's de pravity, all the while chortling Horrible! Horrible! Fussell Also shows how the oriental tale, Rasselas, flirts with an 18th century equivalent of camp -steering deftly around the snare in which his oriental.

Not everyone is as innocent as this engaging complainant

Not everyone is as innocent as this engaging complainant.

Johnson, Samuel - known as Dr. Johnson born Sept. Paul Fussell - Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Paul Fussell (nacido 22 de marzo de 1924, Pasadena, California, E. U. He is the author of books o. 18, 1709, Lichfield, Staffordshire, Eng. died Dec. 13, 1784, London British man of letters, one of the outstanding figures of 18th century England. The son of a poor bookseller, he briefly attended Oxfor. Universalium. es una cultural y literaria historiador y profesor emérito de Inglés literatura en la Universidad de Pennsylvania.

By (author) Paul Fussell. Free delivery worldwide. And if the writings are still little read for their own sake, they are almost as little written about as attractive objects of criticism.

“Fresh, alert, commanding and likely to be a landmark in 18th century studies. . . .Readers who care about English literature will relish this lucid, often controversial re-examination.” ―Book-of-the-Month-Club News

Not everyone is as innocent as this engaging complainant. Most people who read know something about Johnson, enough at least to summon up images of him asseverating “No, Sir,” knocking back endless cups of tea, rambling over the Hebrides, puffing out his breath like a whale, repressing Boswell, standing bareheaded in Uttoxeter Market, and having a frisk with Beauclerk and Langton. And now, thanks to the Johnsonians of Yale, Columbia, Oxford, and Lichfield, our knowledge of the man and his social environment has increased more than anyone fifty years ago could have imagined. But despite prodigies of research and documentation, an interest in Johnson that could be called literary has been wanting. One suspects that for every hundred persons familiar with the classic Johnson anecdotes there is perhaps only one who has actually read the Rambler or the Idler or even the Lives of the Poets. And if the writings are still little read for their own sake, they are almost as little written about as attractive objects of criticism. Yale’s new edition of the writings, the first since the early nineteenth century, is an occasion to perceive that for all his value as conversational goad and wit and for all his attractiveness as a moral and religious hero, Johnson’s identity remains stubbornly that of a writer.
Bumand
Boswell's book on Samuel Johnson stands on its own. Fussell's book is beautifully written, acutely observant, and gives a felt sense of the times and the person of his subject. One can read either book independent of the other. But to read them both is a fuller literary experience.
Mushicage
In this study of Samuel Johnson’s work as an author, Paul Fussell notes the “curious neglect of Johnson by what might be called the intellectual community” of the late 20th and 21st centuries (p. 146). The reasons for this are complex, but not least is a clichéd conception of “Dr. Johnson” as a “combination of Mr. Punch, John Bull, and a sort of Lord North of criticism,” full of “brutal literary ‘prejudices’” and standing as an emblem of 18th century “reaction and ‘Toryism’” (p. 40). In fact, the John Bull, high Tory “Dr. Johnson” is largely a fictive creation of those, such as his friend Boswell or his posthumous detractor Macaulay, who had their own peculiar reasons for shaping the legacy of a once indisputably powerful author in this way (pp. 39-41). Scholars such as W.J. Bate, whose biography of Johnson is itself a psychologically profound and moving work, or Donald Greene have done much to remedy these misperceptions. Fussell makes his own valuable contribution to this work by demonstrating how subtle and profound was Johnson’s work as an author.

The touchstone of Fussell’s analysis might be called “anti-romanticism” (a theme that also runs through his later study of Kingsley Amis), an exasperation with the cult of individual genius, the “all-powerful unique personality” that transcends conventions and dictates its art to the world on its own terms (pp. 64-65). To the contrary, Fussell argues that literature necessarily takes place through genres, i.e., through literary forms that perform the same task no matter who is handling them. The desuetude of genres in contempory high literature is more apparent than real, as Fussell shows through an amusing mock catalog of late 20th century poetic genres (e.g., the “Lyric of Confession or Self-Accusation,” including the sub-genre of the “The Divorce Meditation”). A reluctance to recognize genre, Fussell argues, owes less to any hypocrisy in modern authors themselves than to our own expectations about “high personal creativeness, ‘originality,’ and even gross personal idiosyncracy” in our artists – in this context, it is not in writers’ interest “to recognize [genres],” i.e., to recognize that they are “writing, often brilliantly, the same conventional kinds of poems again and again.” (pp. 65-67).

The genius of Johnson as a writer, as Fussell shows, was his ability to produce lapidary specimens within the extensive range of genres available in the 18th century – not just poems, or essays, but “the political tract . . . the oration, the sermon, the letter, the prayer, the dedication, [or] the preface” (pp. 38-39), as well as, of course, lexicography. Writing within received genres such as these provides a writer such as Johnson with a way of “fusing the individual and local with the external and public,” of integrating the individual consciousness within community of fellow beings (pp. 133-134). Thus, Johnson stands in contrast to the romantic conception of writing, not because of a hard-headed 18th century worldliness, but because of a deeply moral understanding of the author’s public purpose, which Fussell likens almost to a “Christian sacrament” of authorship (p. 112). Though Johnson is often associated with a sort of cynical mercenariness about writing, Fussell takes some pains to show that Johnson’s oft-quoted assertion that “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money” in fact represents merely one of the author’s provocative assertions – essentially a way of warding off the “easy cant” that gathers around the subject of “literary motive” (pp. 110-111).

Paul Fussell was an academic with a public profile (The Economist chose him for its weekly obituary), largely based on his writing about the World Wars (e.g., The Great War and Modern Memory, Wartime), but also derived from more obviously popular works such as Class (a piece of “comic sociology”). This work, within his original field of 18th century literature, somewhat straddles the scholarly and the popular (as suggested by its publication history: originally published as an academic monograph in 1971, it was republished as a Norton paperback in 1986), and that tells on the reader. Fussell writes with a wit and directness that is hardly characteristic of an English professor (e.g., his dissection of the “genre” of prefaces to modern academic works, or of his daughter’s letter home from camp, pp. 114-116), and which carries the reader through much of his detailed and insightful analysis; but once Fussell has presented his thesis and demonstrated it in the most general terms, the book moves, somewhere around Chapter 5, into a more tedious examination of each part of Johnson’s corpus (e.g., the periodicals, the Dictionary, Rasselas, the Lives of the Poets) that feels, at times, like more of a scholarly duty than indispensable analysis. Regardless, the book, certainly in its first half, entertains and instructs, and must be included alongside Bate’s and Greene’s work as a necessary corrective to popular stereotypes of its subject.
Samuel Johnson and the Life of Writing ebook
Author:
Paul Fussell
Category:
History & Criticism
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EPUB size:
1419 kb
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1602 kb
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Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (April 17, 1986)
Pages:
320 pages
Rating:
4.5
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