Samuel Johnson


Samuel Johnson Famous memorial

Lichfield, Lichfield District, Staffordshire, England
Death 13 Dec 1784 (aged 75)
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Burial Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England
Plot Poets Corner
Memorial ID 1822 View Source

Lexicographer. Author. Born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, the son of Sarah Ford and Michael Johnson, a bookseller and stationer. A sickly child, there was some question as to weather he would survive. He suffered from scrofula, and by the age of two experienced both hearing loss and had lost the sight in one eye. At seven, he attended Lichfield Grammar School, ten years later he left school to join his father in the bookshop. By 1728, he was able to enroll Pembroke College, Oxford, but finances forced him to leave a year later without taking a degree. He achieved his first published work, 'A Voyage to Abyssinia,' his translation from the Portuguese of Father Jerome Lobo’s travels which was printed in 1735. That year, he married and used his wife's dowry to a fund a private academy, it failed two years later, however, and he left to find work in London. Within a year, he had taken a position writing for 'The Gentleman's Magazine.' Between 1740 and 1743 he edited parliamentary debates for inclusion in the magazine. In 1744, he wrote the biography, ''The Life of Richard Savage,' which became his first work of note. In 1746, he was contracted to compile an English dictionary, a task for which he allotted three years, however, work did not commence for another two. He and six assistants completed the 'Dictionary of the English Language' which was finally published in 1755. He continued as a journalist, editing, writing prefaces, and contributing articles to journals including his 'Rambler essays,' his 'Idler essays,' and the novel 'The Prince of Abissinia: A Tale,' more often referred to as 'Rasselas' (1759). Other works included 'The Life of Ascham' (1761), 'Notes to Shakespeare' (1765) and 'The Fountains: A Fairy Tale ' (1766). For his work, he received a government pension in 1762. In 1763, he became friends with James Boswell, with whom he eventually traveled through Scotland, ultimately producing the travel narrative 'A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland' (1775). In 1765, he received an honorary doctorate from Trinity College in Dublin. Between 1770 and 1775 he produced a series of highly opinionated political pamphlets including 'The False Alarm' (1770), 'The Patriot '(1774), and 'Taxation No Tyranny' (1775). 1781, saw the publication of his final volume of 'The Lives of the English Poets.' In 1783, his health began to fail, and he suffered a stroke. He died some eighteen months later at age 75. His friend, published a highly regarded biography, 'James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson' in 1791. Johnson is widely lauded for making lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, literary critic, biographer, and lexicographer.

Bio by: Iola

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 1822
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Samuel Johnson (18 Sep 1709–13 Dec 1784), Find a Grave Memorial ID 1822, citing Westminster Abbey, Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find a Grave .