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Durham e-Theses
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Samuel Johnson: authority for an age

Murray, J.R. (1991) Samuel Johnson: authority for an age. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The following thesis is concerned with Samuel Johnson’s authority both as a personality and as a writer. It is almost impossible to think of Johnson in terms other than those of an authority. The use of Johnsonian aphorisms to clinch an argument, as though they were imbued with inherent legitimacy, is frequent, and throughout the pages of Boswell's Life, which is the organ through which Johnson is most often revealed, his role as an authority, and in particular, a moralist, is stressed. Johnson’s authority is viewed through various aspects of his life. There are chapters on: his life as a social agent, his Dictionary, his Literary Criticism, his troubled religious life and the Rambler Essays which did more to secure him authority in his own age than any other writings. There is a common thread working through all the chapters. It becomes quite clear that the authority which Johnson obtained was based upon his honest acceptance of his own humanity. Though this fact gave his views legitimacy, it often prevented the type of consistency of thought which we feel that we are entitled to from the pen of a serious moralist. It is this strange fact which provides the matter and the interest of this thesis.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:1991
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Dec 2012 12:03

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