Samuel Johnson Essay

1125 words - 5 pages

Samuel Johnson, poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer, made lasting contributions to English literature. Hewas born September 18, 1709 in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England in the family home above his wealthy father‘s bookshop. His mother, Sarah Ford was 40 years old when gave birth to him. There was apprehension he would die in infancy but his strength improved. He was overwhelmed with infirmity during his life. As a child he had scrofula, a disease thought to be cured royalty; a physician suggested he be touched by royalty which he received from Queen Anne in 1712. The royal touch was not efficient in curing Johnson; an operation was performed resulting with scars on his face and body. A few months later his younger brother, Nathaniel was born. His father was unable to keep up with his debts and the family could no longer maintain the style of life they had been living.
Johnson’s parents were egotistical of his confirmed signs of intelligence as a child. He had the aptitude to memorize and recite passages at a young age. While attending Lichfield Grammar school he began to have tics and started making odd gestures which would affect how people would consider him when meeting him. He excelled in his studies as a grammar school student, especially Latin, and was advanced to upper school at the age of nine. When he was 16 years old his future was indecisive as a result of his father being deeply in debt which resulted in him working in his father’s bookshop stitching books. He would read an assortment of works and build his literary knowledge during this time. Three years later, his mother’s cousin died, leaving the family enough money to send Johnson back to school. He attended Pembroke College in Oxford where he read excessively and told stories of his redundancy but was forced to leave after thirteen months because of insufficient funds. Eventually, he would be awarded a degree from Oxford University as well as being awarded an honorary doctorates in 1765 from Trinity College, Dublin and in 1775 from Oxford University.
Little is know about his life from late 1729 until 1731 when his father died. He would provide for himself as a teacher; a position which he found pleasure in but also thought it was boring. Even though he had a tall robust figure , he had difficulty finding a teaching position because he lacked a degree and his tics and odd gestures were not viewed upon sympathetically when first encountering him. His actions and gesticulations are well acknowledged in several of his writings which has resulted in a posthumous diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome. While spending time with a friend, Edward Hector, who resided with a publisher whom obtained Johnson’s help while initiating the Birmingham Journal. Johnson later proposed translating Jeronimo Lobo’s account of the Abyssinians which he dictated to his friend, who then took a copy to the printer for corrections...

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