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Gumbywan

Randolph "Dilda" Carter

A rant about books, horror, and the weird.  I sometimes take on my love/hate relationship with goodreads and Amazon.

Currently reading

Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories
Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, William Shatner
Progress: 140/336 pages
Pavane
Keith Roberts

The Great Cham

Selected Writings - Samuel Johnson, Peter   Martin, Patrick Cruttwell

Nobody reads Samuel Johnson anymore.  There are a lot of misconceptions about his conservatism that tend to make moderns think his scribbles irrelevant nowadays.  This is unfortunate because a lot of what he says is sensible and the way he states it is still lively even today.  I guess I'm used to archaic language so that makes it easier for me sometimes.

 

The main thing about Johnson is not so much what he is saying but how he says it.  I wish I could wrap my feeble vocabulary around things as concisely and as incisively as Johnson does.  The real pleasure in reading it is the words themselves and how they are constructed as much as the message.  Admittedly you have to be into the language as language itself to appreciate Johnson in this way and it is true that many of his notions are irrelevant or old fashioned by today's standards.

 

The only problem with a book like this is it only gives a taste of each aspect of Johnson's life and writings.  The complete longer pieces:  London and Life of Savage whet the appetite but the rest of the book is just excerpts and leaves one longing for the entire.  I would say that in this volume the most interesting piece is the excerpt from A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and I would seek out the complete edition plus Boswell's companion volume of the same journey.

 

The only other criticism I have is there is nothing from The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia.