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Samuel Johnson

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Johnson, Samuel (1709–84), English author, one of the major poets, critics, conversationalists, and lexicographers of his time. He wrote for various London magazines beginning in 1737, publishing the poem London (1738), which inaugurated his fame. From 1746 to 1755 he prepared his pioneering Dictionary of the English Language (1755). The moral romance Rassalas (1759) followed, and then the Idler essays (1758–60). In 1763 he met James Boswell, his biographer, who recorded much of Johnson's brilliant conversation. In 1764 he founded his Literary Club (with Joshua Reynolds), an elite circle centered around “Doctor” Johnson, which included Burke, Garrick, Boswell, and Goldsmith. In 1765, he published his edition of Shakespeare, the model for those to follow. Lives of the Poets (1779–81), a 10-volume work, was one of his last. Johnson's contributions were central in defining the period of English literature that came to be known as the Augustan Age.

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