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Samuel Johnson and the Art of Sinking 1709-1791 - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Samuel Johnson and the Art of Sinking 1709-1791

Freya Johnston


The traditional view of Samuel Johnson as a writer hostile to particulars, trifles, and aesthetic mediocrity only half-explains his character. This book argues that in a period exercised by social and literary hierarchies, Johnson's works reveal a defining interest in ‘little’, ‘mean’, or ‘low’ topics and people. The book is about Johnson's relationship to an 18th-century art of the bathos; about his inheritance, via such an art, of classical rhetoric; and about his strenuous adaptation of that rhetoric to various, competing influences, especially to Christianity. Spanning the period from John ... More

Keywords: bathos, Christianity, 18th century, hierarchies, literature, neo-classicism, rhetoric

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2005 Print ISBN-13: 9780199251827
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199251827.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Freya Johnston, author
Lecturer in English, University of Warwick
Author Webpage