Category Archives: Johnson (Samuel)

In Defense of the English Major

Adam Gopnik makes a spirited defense of the English major in a recent “New Yorker” article.

Also posted in Goethe | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

No More Privacy–And We Don’t Care

We no longer fiercely guide our privacy, as did the worlds of Austen, Trollope, Thoreau, and Melville.

Also posted in Boswell (James), Melville (Herman), Thoreau (Henry David), Trollope (Anthony) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Life as a Stage Coach Ride

America is in many ways like the stage coach rides described by Samuel Johnson and Henry Fielding.

Also posted in Fielding (Henry) | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paul Ryan: No Country for Old Men

Paul Ryan’s speech before AARP brings to mind the generational conflict described in Samuel Johnson’s “Rasselas.”

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Rightwing Rewrites Reality

Today’s Republican right are practitioners of the Humpty Dumpty approach to communication: “I said it very loud and clear. I went and shouted in his ear.” Like Lewis Carroll’s Humpty, they also believe that they can make reality, as Humpty makes words, mean whatever they want it to mean.

Also posted in Carroll (Lewis) | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Rasselas, a Bloglodyte’s Salvation

As a blogger, I sometimes spend excessive amounts of time in solitary contemplation. Samuel Johnson warns of the dangers of such a skewed perspective in his philosophic narrative “Rasselas.”

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At 60, a Comfortable Old Scarecrow

Having just turned 60, I’ve been thinking of Teiresias. Wise though the blind seer may be, his advice doesn’t help others that much. Aging, in other words, appears to require humility.

Also posted in Eliot (T.S.), Euripides, Sophocles, Yeats (William Butler) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Election Got You Down? Read Johnson

By the end of today in the United States, some will be celebrating and others will be rending their garments and gnashing their teeth. While I am not one to underestimate the significant of elections—I think voting is one of a citizen’s most important responsibilities—I also caution everyone not to become (in the words of […]

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Mocking Adult Anxieties about Novels

“Before,” by William Hogarth (1736) What can happen to your daughters if they read novels? According to William Hogarth, something like the above. Check out the lower left hand corner where a side table is falling over. The drawer has been left casually but deliberately open so that one can see the book that is […]

Also posted in Austen (Jane), Sheridan (Richard) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

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