World in Thirty-Eight Chapters or Dr Johnson’s Guide to Life, The

Henry Hitchings

Format: Hardback, Paperback / softback

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Published: 14-06-2018

£16.99

Part portrait of Britain’s greatest man of letters, part guide to life, a witty and erudite re-evaluation of Dr Johnson’s enduring importance and relevance

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Description

‘Hitchings is extremely good at unravelling Johnson’s most bullish assertions . . . lucid and empathetic, scholarly but lively. A model Johnsonian, in fact.’ Orlando Bird, The TelegraphThe World in Thirty-Eight Chapters or Dr Johnson’s Guide to Life is a source of profound good sense about what it means to teach, read, write and travel. More than that, though, Henry Hitchings continually translates Samuel Johnson’s experience of poverty, scorn, pain and madness into a rich understanding of how to be.Samuel Johnson was a critic, an essayist, a poet and a biographer. He was also, famously, the compiler of the first good English dictionary, published in 1755. A polymath and a great conversationalist, his intellectual and social curiosity were boundless. Yet he was a deeply melancholy man, haunted by dark thoughts, sickness and a diseased imagination. In his own life, both public and private, he sought to choose a virtuous and prudent path, negotiating everyday hazards and temptations. His writings and aphorisms illuminate what it means to lead a life of integrity, and his experience, abundantly documented by him and by others (such as James Boswell and Hester Thrale), is a lesson in the art of regulating the mind and the body.Johnson’s story touches on many themes that have enduring significance. He was, and remains, a perceptive commentator on the vanity of human wishes, the rewards and dangers of charity, the need to cultivate kindness, the complexities of family life (especially marriage), the effects of boredom and the fleeting nature of pleasure. He writes and speaks incisively and humanely about the ego, ambition, hypocrisy, fallibility and disorders of the mind, as well as the corrosive effects of obsession, the precariousness of fame and the skulduggery of the literary world.

Additional information

Weight 0.498 kg
Dimensions 37 × 144 × 223 mm
Page Count 320