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Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) by…

Selected Writings (Penguin Classics)

by Samuel Johnson

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I'm finding it a very good brain workout to clamber through Johnson's magisterial Augustan prose and figure out his meaning; usually still very apt and wise. Human nature doesn't change much; Johnson appears to have predicted Brexit:

"How rarely reason guides the stubborn choice,
Rules the bold hand, or prompts the suppliant voice;
How nations sink, by darling schemes oppress'd,
When vengeance listens to the fool's request"
(Vanity of Human Wishes)

and the downside of social media:

"That the highest degree of reverence should be paid to youth, and that nothing indecent should be suffered to approach their eyes or ears..... the same kind, though not the same degree, of caution, is required in every thing which is laid before them, to secure them from unjust prejudices, perverse opinions, and incongruous combinations of images"
(The Rambler, 31 March 1750)

and the rise of Trump:

"The Roarer....has no other qualification for a champion of controversy than a hardened front and strong voice. Having seldom so much desire to confute as to silence, he depends rather upon vociferation than argument, and has very little care to adjust one part of his accusation to another, to preserve decency in his language, or probability in his narratives. He has always a score of reproachful epithets and contemptuous appellations, ready to be produced as occasion may require, which by constant use he pours out with resistless volubility."
(The Rambler, 3 August 1751)
  PollyMoore3 | Mar 8, 2017 |
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Published to commemorate the influential essayist's 300th birthday, a volume of top-selected moral and critical essays includes his periodical writings from the Rambler, Adventurer, and Idler; the fable, Rasselas; and selections from Lives of the Poets.… (more)

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