Samuel Johnson Among the Modernists
Edited by Anthony W. Lee
The traditional view of Samuel Johnson has been that of a reactionary conservative, a narrowly bigoted High Anglican Tory, insular and xenophobic, resistant to innovation and experimentation. Many twentieth-century scholars and critics worked indefatigably to undermine the simplicity of the stereotype, in the process enriching our understanding of this complex and inexhaustibly fecund writer. Samuel Johnson Among the Modernists casts Johnson as a figure of modernity, one who possesses an appeal that many Modernist writers found irresistible. Thus, the essays assembled in this collection urge a simultaneous rethinking of both Johnson and modernism in ways that are compelling, illuminating, and critically fruitful.
“This is prose written in a Johnsonian spirit, even if the style bears few of the master’s hallmarks. . . . Each of its nine chapters proposes a sort of conversation between Johnson and other eighteenth-century writers, or between Johnson and a more recent author, or both. The comparison of Woolf with Johnson is perhaps the most fruitful of all the pairings in the volume, . . . partly because her literary-critical, biographical and essayistic career shared so much ground with his.”
—Freya Johnston, New Rambler
About the Editor
Anthony W. Lee's research interests center upon Samuel Johnson and his circle, mentoring, and intertexuality. He has published five books and more than thirty essays on Johnson and eighteenth-century literature and culture. Anthony has taught at a number of colleges and universities, including the University of Arkansas, Arkansas Tech University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, the University of the District of Columbia, and the University of Maryland University College, where he also served as Director of the English and Humanities Program.