Autobiographical writings, including a previously unpublished diary, comprise first volume of Works of Samuel Johnson
Although Samuel Johnson is recognized as the central English literary figure of the second half of the eighteenth century, and the period is often referred to as the Age of Johnson, no consequential edition of his works has appeared since 1825, and no edition at any time has exercised the care in presenting the complete and accurate text of his works that modern readers require. Now, Yale University is sponsoring a new edition of the works of Samuel Johnson, to include writings identified as his during the last twenty-five years and not printed in any previous collection of his works.
The complete Yale edition is expected to occupy at least twelve volumes. It will be guided by a distinguished committee made up of Herman W. Liebert (Yale) as chairman; Allen T. Hazen (Columbia) as general editor; Robert F. Metzdorf (Yale) as secretary; Walter J. Bate (Harvard); Bertrand H. Bronson (California); R. W. Chapman (Oxford); James L. Clifford (Columbia); Robert Halsband (Hunter); Frederick W. Hilles (Yale); Arthur A. Houghton, Jr., of New York City; Mr. and Mrs. Donald F. Hyde, of Somerville, N.J.; William R. Keast (Cornell); Edward L. McAdam, Jr. (New York); L. F. Powell (Oxford); S. C. Roberts (Cambridge); and D. Nichol Smith (Oxford).
The inaugural volume in The Works of Samuel Johnson prints, for the first time completely and together, all of his autobiographical writings, including an unpublished diary for 1765–84, the longest and fullest of any of Johnson’s diaries now known. Here are Johnson’s own records of day-to-day events, of his mental process and spiritual life, of his readings, his travels, and his physical condition presented in chronological succession. The editors have provided an extensive running commentary that illuminates and interprets Johnson’s account and constitutes a continuing narrative based on other sources and on detailed original research.
“Teems with information both useful and curious, both indispensable and irresistible, satisfying any student’s needs, stimulating the general reader’s curiosity and widening every reader’s horizon.”—Louis Kronenberger, New York Times
“We can only be glad to have these intimate documents so carefully edited in the first volume of what promises to be a magnificently comprehensive edition.”—The Spectator
“This sets the format for all the volumes which are to follow, and a more beautiful, dignified, and appealing one it would be hard to find. . . . The editors have done everything they can to make it an indispensable companion for all true Johnsonians. Certainly everyone involved in the preparation of the volume should be felicitated.”—Johnsonian News Letter
“This volume, the first in the Yale edition of the works of Johnson, is indispensable for the eighteenth-century scholar. . . . Better than any other work, the Diaries, Prayers, and Annals proves that one of the basic qualities of the man was his profound humility.”—Modern Language Quarterly
“The book sets a high standard of scholarship and interest which will serve as a criterion of excellence for the subsequent volumes in the Yale edition.”—Christian Science Monitor
“When a new collection of the works of Samuel Johnson was known to be in preparation, all eighteenth-century scholars were made happy. Now the first volume of the work is off the press, and no one is likely to be able to find fault. The editors have produced a magnificent book.”—The Personalist
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