Portal:University of Oxford/Selected biography/3

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson (1709–1784) often referred to as "Dr Johnson", was a British author who has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history". He is also the subject of "the most famous single work of biographical art in the whole of literature": James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson. Johnson attended Pembroke College, Oxford for just over a year, before his lack of funds forced him to leave. After working as a teacher he moved to London, where he began to write miscellaneous pieces for The Gentleman's Magazine. After nine years of work, Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755; it had a far-reaching effect on Modern English and has been described as "one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship." In 1763, he befriended James Boswell, with whom he later travelled to Scotland. Boswell's Life, along with other biographies, documented Johnson's behaviour and mannerisms in such detail that they have informed the posthumous diagnosis of Tourette syndrome, a condition not defined in the 18th century. (more...)