In Mind of Johnson

A Study of Johnson the Rambler

Title Details

Pages: 328

Trim size: 5.500in x 8.500in



Pub Date: 01/01/2009

ISBN: 9-780-8203-3379-3

List Price: $30.95

In Mind of Johnson

A Study of Johnson the Rambler

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  • Description
  • Reviews
The original and imaginative portrait of Dr Johnson-the man and the writer-gets behind his public face and uncovers the human struggle out of which Johnson's moral view of life emerged. The author presents a challenging reading of the Rambler essays and Rasselas, unveiling the presence in these works of Johnson's inner life. Convincing and persuasive, it is an approach which flies in the face of established critical fashions and preconceptions and which reveals Johnson in a completely new light.

The book looks at various aspects of Johnson's thought and personality and meditates upon their complexity and abiding wisdom. . . . One particularly nice touch is Davis' tendency to compare Johnson with writers of other periods, such as Tolstoy, Bellow, and even Malamud. Generally, our tendency is to see Johnson in a far narrower context than his own range, depth, and importance can justify.

—Richard B. Schwartz, Albion

A laudable effort . . . Davis's study offers a refreshing and affectionate look at Johnson as a presence.


Davis, directing his book at 'the serious common reader,' turns, as one middle-aged wisdom-seeker to another, to Johnson for 'practical advice about how to live.' . . . [Davis] can be seen as following the Rambler's injunction that we ought to be reading in order to become better and wiser, to benefit our hearts and actions, as well as our minds.

—Isobel Grundy, Age of Johnson

About the Author/Editor

PHILIP DAVIS lectures in the Department of English Language and Literature, University of Liverpool