Samuel Johnson

English, 1709 - 1784

Samuel Johnson is perhaps best remembered as the subject of the most famous biography in English literature, The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell, but he made considerable contributions to English literature in his own right. The greatest of these contributions is certainly his Dictionary of the English Language, which was considered the preeminent English dictionary until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary a century and a half later. Johnson also wrote essays, poetry, biographies, and popular fiction. While he received only moderate recognition during his lifetime, his work began to attract renewed interest a century after his death. He is now considered one of the forbears of the modern philosophical mode of literary theory, a respected poet, and a thoroughly entertaining writer.