Samuel Johnson

Standard Name: Johnson, Samuel
Used Form: Dr Johnson
Arriving in eighteenth-century London as one more young literary hopeful from the provinces, SJ achieved such a name for himself as an arbiter of poetry, of morality (through his Rambler and other periodical essays and his prose fiction Rasselas), of the language (the Dictionary), and of the literary canon (his edition of Shakespeare and the Lives of the English Poets) that literary history has often typecast him as hidebound and authoritarian. This idea has been facilitated by his ill-mannered conversational dominance in his late years and by the portrait of him drawn by the hero-worshipping Boswell . In fact he was remarkable for his era in seeing literature as a career open to the talented without regard to gender. From his early-established friendships with Elizabeth Carter and Charlotte Lennox to his mentorship of Hester Thrale , Frances Burney , and (albeit less concentratedly) of Mary Wollstonecraft and Henrietta Battier , it was seldom that he crossed the path of a woman writer without friendly and relatively egalitarian encouragement.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Friends, Associates Laetitia-Matilda Hawkins
Visitors to her parents' house included Oliver Goldsmith and Samuel Johnson , whom the Hawkins children nicknamed Polyphemus, after the one-eyed giant in the Odyssey.
Hawkins, Laetitia-Matilda. Memoirs, Anecdotes, Facts and Opinions. Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, and C. and J. Rivington, 1824.
1: 86
After Johnson's death, John Hawkins was...
Friends, Associates Radagunda Roberts
Though very little is known of RR 's life, she was well acquainted with at least one other woman writer: Frances Brooke (whose son attended St Paul's while Roberts's brother was High Master, and who...
Friends, Associates Mary Jones
MJ corresponded with Charlotte Lennox and with publisher Ralph Griffiths and his wife Isabella . Her friendship was valued by literary men like Samuel Johnson , Joseph Spence , Thomas Warton , and apparently Bonnell Thornton
Friends, Associates Mary Deverell
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography notes both that MD received patronage from Bristol heiress Ann Lovell Gwatkin , and that Hannah More emphatically did not take to her, though their paths must repeatedly have...
Friends, Associates Frances Brooke
Before departing for Québec to join her husband , FB attended a farewell party with Samuel Johnson and other literary friends.
McMullen, Lorraine. An Odd Attempt in a Woman: The Literary Life of Frances Brooke. University of British Columbia Press, 1983.
Friends, Associates Charlotte Lennox
CL won the enduring friendship of Samuel Johnson and Samuel Richardson . (With Johnson she quarrelled at least once, and he took pains to heal the breach.) She introduced Giuseppe Baretti to Johnson, and had...
Friends, Associates Mary Wollstonecraft
Newington Green was a fortunate place for MW to have settled: it was a centre of intellectual Dissent. There she met the radical minister Richard Price , the poet Samuel Rogers , and the teacher...
Friends, Associates Margaret Bingham, Countess Lucan
She was a well-known figure in London cultural circles, particularly that of the Bluestockings. Charles Burney called her at-home evenings blue conversazioni's and Horace Walpole called them quite Mazarine-blue. Others specifically mentioned in...
Friends, Associates Frances Brooke
FB 's friendship with Woffington led to her meeting Peg's sister Polly , who became her lifelong friend. Eight years older than Brooke, Polly Woffington was a close friend of Samuel Johnson , Sir Joshua Reynolds
Friends, Associates Frances Brooke
FB knew Samuel Johnson well by 1755, before the days of his greatest fame. According to family legend, she and her sister were the ladies whom he teased because they had noticed his omission of...
Friends, Associates Hester Lynch Piozzi
Hester Thrale (later HLP ) and her first husband met Samuel Johnson for the first time.
Johnson recorded this as 9 January, though HLP later remembered it as the 10th.
Clifford, James L. Hester Lynch Piozzi (Mrs Thrale). Clarendon Press, 1987.
Clifford, James L. Hester Lynch Piozzi (Mrs Thrale). Clarendon Press, 1987.
Friends, Associates Mary Scott
MS was probably a friend from an early age of the dissenting hymn-writer Anne Steele , who lived not very far away and who was a generation older. They spent much time together in 1773...
Friends, Associates Lady Anne Barnard
Lady Anne lived much of her life in fashionable society, and her acquaintance was very wide. In Edinburgh in her early twenties she impressed and delighted Samuel Johnson with an impromptu and complimentary bon mot...
Friends, Associates Elizabeth Carter
EC associated on terms of warmth and equality with men of letters or culture such as Samuel Johnson , Samuel Richardson , Thomas Birch , Moses Browne , Richard Savage , William and John Duncombe
Friends, Associates Henrietta Battier
In London HB met many leading figures in cultural and intellectual life. She visited and confided in Samuel Johnson , and developed a warm admiration for him.
Battier, Henrietta. The Protected Fugitives. James Porter, 1791. http://Bodleian: 280 i 105, http://Bodleian: 280 i 105.
She also met Sir Joshua Reynolds .


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