Books Should Be Free
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

A Poetical Review of the Literary and Moral Character of the late Samuel Johnson (1786)   By: (1738-1816)

Book cover

First Page:

THE AUGUSTAN REPRINT SOCIETY

John Courtenay

A POETICAL REVIEW OF THE LITERARY AND MORAL CHARACTER OF THE LATE SAMUEL JOHNSON

(1786)

Introduction by ROBERT E. KELLEY

PUBLICATION NUMBER 133

WILLIAM ANDREWS CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES

1969

GENERAL EDITORS William E. Conway, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library George Robert Guffey, University of California, Los Angeles Maximillian E. Novak, University of California, Los Angeles

ASSOCIATE EDITOR David S. Rodes, University of California, Los Angeles

ADVISORY EDITORS Richard C. Boys, University of Michigan James L. Clifford, Columbia University Ralph Cohen, University of Virginia Vinton A. Dearing, University of California, Los Angeles Arthur Friedman, University of Chicago Louis A. Landa, Princeton University Earl Miner, University of California, Los Angeles Samuel H. Monk, University of Minnesota Everett T. Moore, University of California, Los Angeles Lawrence Clark Powell, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library James Sutherland, University College, London H. T. Swedenberg, Jr., University of California, Los Angeles Robert Vosper, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

CORRESPONDING SECRETARY Edna C. Davis, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Mary Kerbret, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

INTRODUCTION

The eighteenth century was an age addicted to gossiping about its literary figures. This addiction was nowhere better demonstrated than by the countless reflections, sermons, poems, pamphlets, biographical sketches, and biographies about Samuel Johnson. The most productive phase of this activity commenced almost immediately after Johnson's death in December, 1784, and continued into the next century.

One item of Johnsoniana which seems to have been neglected, perhaps because Birkbeck Hill did not include it in his Johnsonian Miscellanies , is A Poetical Review of the Literary and Moral Character of the Late Samuel Johnson, L.L.D., with Notes . This poem of three hundred and four lines was written by John Courtenay (1741 1816). First published in the spring of 1786 by Charles Dilly, the poem went through three editions in the same year. Its popularity was determined less by Courtenay's poetic talent than by public interest in the Johnsoniana that flooded the market. Courtenay's literary output, though scanty, was diverse; he wrote light verse, character sketches, and essays, including two controversial pieces in support of the French Revolution.[1] It is apparent, however, that for him writing was hardly more than an avocation.

Despite his notoriety as a controversial member of Parliament, as a first rate wit, and as an intimate friend of Boswell, Courtenay remains a shadowy figure. References to him occur often in the last volumes of Boswell's journal, but few of them are particularly revealing. Courtenay evidently never met Johnson; indeed, the anonymous author of A Poetical Epistle from the Ghost of Dr. Johnson to His Four Friends: The Rev. Mr. Strahan. James Boswell, Esq. Mrs. Piozzi. J. Courtenay, Esq. M.P. (1786) censures Courtenay for writing about a man whom he did not know. Although a member of the Literary Club, Courtenay did not join this group until four years after Johnson died. He was proposed on 9 December 1788, by Sir Joshua Reynolds (Boswell seconded), and elected two weeks later, on 23 December, during the same meeting at which it was decided to erect a monument to Dr. Johnson in Westminster Abbey.[2]

If, then, Courtenay did not belong to the Johnson circle, he became, shortly after Johnson's death, a valued member of the Boswell circle. Courtenay must have met Boswell in the spring or early summer of 1785, about thirteen years after arriving in England from his native Ireland in the service of Viscount Townshend. Boswell's first reference to Courtenay occurs in his journal under 7 July 1785... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books