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Of his first meeting with Johnson Boswell says, concerning this portrait: I found that I had a very perfect idea of Johnson's figure from the portrait of him painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds soon after he had published his Dictionary in the attitude of sitting in his easy chair in deep meditation, which was the first picture his friend did for him, which Sir Joshua very kindly presented to me, and from which an engraving has been made for this work.'
FROM THE WORKS OF
EDITED WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND NOTES
CHARLES GROSVENOR OSGOOD
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ONE day at Mrs. Thrale's, Johnson remarked, in an 'indulgent humor': 'I think there is no impropriety in a man's publishing as much as he chooses of any author, if he does not put the rest out of the way.' His word's lend one perhaps the best excuse for a book of this kind. It is in the hope of putting the rest in the way that these selections have been gathered and edited; and enough will have been done, if they should prove the means of correcting some error of vision, or of helping to find life in that which has seemed dead.
The introduction may appear at times too emphatic and opinionated, or too condensed and barren of illustration. But opinion often creates opinion in others, if only by reaction; and such passages as those on Johnson's style or his theory of criticism, or on the poetry of his time, may suggest to teachers various useful and agreeable studies in quest of illustration and evidence.
Rasselas is unrepresented because it has been well edited in this series by Professor Emerson. The selections are entire, except the Life of Addison, from which the long quotation of Dennis's tedious remarks on Cato has been in large part omitted. No biographical sketch of Johnson beyond a chronological outline has seemed necessary. If a shorter account than Boswell's is desired, it may be found in Sir Leslie Stephen's Life of Johnson (English Men of Letters), or, shorter still, in his article in the Dictionary of National Biography. Macaulay may be read with interest, but not for Johnson's sake.