Entries by Wayne Jones

Sam Leaves Lichfield

In the mid-1730s Sam’s basic situation was that he had applied for teaching jobs that he didn’t get, he and his wife had established their own school which didn’t attract enough students, and Sam had applied to be a writer for the Gentleman’s Magazine but wasn’t hired. He needs another plan and so in 1737 […]

Me, Sam, Writing, and Memory

Memory is the primary and fundamental power, without which there could be no other intellectual operation. Sam Johnson, Idler 44 (Saturday, February 17, 1759) I had a great chat this past Sunday with my condo neighbour Shelley, who is also a Sam Johnson enthusiast. In fact he had been kind enough to agree to be […]

The Subject of Biography

This past Monday I attended three of the sessions that were offered by the Boswell Book Festival, an annual event for which people generally gather in one city to attend, but of course which was held by videoconference this year. All three sessions were in fact very good, which I say not just as a […]

A Couple of Books and Surprises

I received this past week two books that I’d ordered and am really thrilled to have. This one is the 5-volume set of the complete (and now considered standard and authoritative) letters of Sam Johnson, edited by Bruce Redford. I happened to be able to buy a completely new copy, still in the publisher’s plastic […]

Sam’s Tetty

I spent most of Wednesday afternoon with my friends Mary and Robert, socially distanced in the back yard but maskless because each of us has had the first shot of a COVID vaccine. It was wonderful — the first time I have done that for almost two years. One of the things we talked about […]

Sam Johnson, Married and Widowed

Sam Johnson got married in 1735 to Elizabeth Porter. He was 25 and she was 46; in addition, they had met only about a year or so before and she had been widowed just over 10 months when the wedding took place. Sam was a bit younger than the average age at the time for […]

General: “Publick; Comprising the Whole”

My biography of Sam Johnson is being written, as you know if you’ve followed this blog or looked at the website, for the general reader. The concept is simple. Most comprehensive and authoritative modern biographies of Johnson published, well, ever, are really aimed at scholars. They are written by scholars for scholars, and though that […]

Sam’s Thoughts and Prayers

I haven’t done writing so far this week for my Sam book, but I have come across a chapter in a book of selected essays about Sam — as well as a new selection from all of his writings, which I recently bought. The essay is about the prayers and resolutions that Sam made various […]