Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was an “essayist, lexicographer, poet, editor, critic, and famous talker.” A prodigious writer in his own right, he was ensured a place in literary history by the biography written by James Boswell, a young Scot who became his friend in 1763 and remained so until 1783, the year before Johnson’s death. Boswell is probably most responsible for making Samuel Johnson the second-most quoted person after Shakespeare in the English language. Boswell’s method, apparently, was to have conversations with Dr. Johnson and write down reams of what welled up in the man. His biography runs to six volumes, although abridged versions are available. It is worth reading about the hardships Samuel Johnson endured in order to become this font of words. That he survived is one thing; that he did so with a bountiful wit is another thing altogether!
Johnson’s quotes are of his time, are often acidic and witty, but often reveal insight into human affairs that laid aside conventional thinking and cut through the hierarchical nature of British society to say something profound. Whether you like all of what he has to say is completely up to you, of course (you can see what else he has to say related to “provision” and “poor” by following those links). I had a difficult time choosing only one quote for this challenge. To sample more of his musings, courtesy Boswell, go here:
Again, I thank Julie for nominating me for this challenge. One more day to go. Time to clarify my thoughts….