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Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)—one of the greatest moralists, poets, biographers, critics, essayists, and correspondents of all time—so dominated literary and intellectual life in the last half of the 18th century that the era is frequently referred to as the “Age of Johnson.”  As a conversationalist and writer he was so insightful and adept in the use of language that only Shakespeare and the Bible are quoted more often.

Samuel Johnson: Literary Giant of the 18th Century, a new exhibition opening May 23 and continuing through Sept.  21 in the West Hall of the Library, tells the story of Johnson’s life and achievements through a display of rare books, manuscripts, and portraits drawn from The Huntington’s holdings and from the Loren and Frances Rothschild Collection.  The exhibition is curated by noted Johnson scholar O. M. “Skip” Brack, professor emeritus of English at Arizona State University.

[from the Huntingon Library Website – see for more information on the exhibit]


samuel johnson dictionary title page

[title page of Johnson’s Dictionary from the Vassar Library website]

Further Reading:


Samuel Johnson portrait

Johnson Portrait by Reynolds