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Johnson, Writing, and Memory
Cambridge University Press. 2002. 234 pages. ISBN: 0521816114. $55
Purchase from Cambridge University Press:
http://www.cup.org/titles/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521816114

This study demonstrates the importance of memory in Samuel Johnson's work. Greg Clingham argues that this concept of memory is derived from the process of historical and creative writing; it is embodied in works of literature and other cultural forms. He examines Johnson's writing; including his biographical writing, as it intersects with eighteenth-century thought on literature, history, fiction and law and its subsequent compatibility with and resistance to modern theory.

Contents

--- List of abbreviations
--- Introduction: Johnson and authority
1. Johnson and memory
2. Johnson and nature
3. Law, narrative, and memory
4. Narrative, history, and memory in the Lives of the Poets
5. Translation and memory in the Lives of the Poets
6. Historiographical implications.

Johnson, Writing, and Memory is deeply intelligent, recognisably true and just, and wholly convincing in its main argument. It offers a new context and a new theoretical agenda for Johnson studies, whilst never offending the devotee by twisting the evidence or distorting the characteristics in search of fashion or trend. It is a genuine amalgam of new and old.”

Philip Davis, University of Liverpool

"...offers a judicious treatment of Johnson's understanding of several major ideas. The volume's readership should reach well beyond scholars working on Johnson and the long eighteenth century and appeal to theorists, historians, and non-specialist readers whose interests touch upon biography, psychology, philology, and literary criticism.... Johnson, Writing, and Memory ultimately celebrates the endless rereadability of Johnson's works and exemplifies the distinctively Johnsonian idea that criticism is a subordinate art."

Brian Hanley, The Age of Johnson


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