The Lives of the Poets by Samuel Johnson
A Selection (Oxford World's Classics)

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If a man is to write A Panegyrick, he may keep vices out of sight; but if he professes to write A Life, he must represent it really as it was.'

In the last of his major writings, Samuel Johnson looked back over the previous two centuries of English Literature in order to describe the personalities as well as the achievements of the leading English poets. The major Lives - of Milton, Dryden, Swift, and Pope - are memorable cameos of the life of writing in which Johnson is as attentive to human frailty as to literary prowess. The shorter Lives preserve some of Johnson's most piercing, critical judgements.
Unsentimental, opinionated, and quotable, The Lives of the Poets continues to influence the reputations of the writers concerned. It is one of the greatest works of English criticism, but also one of the most humanly diverting.

This selection of the Lives of ten of the most important poets draws its text from Roger Lonsdale's authoritative complete edition.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

About Samuel Johnson

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Samuel Johnson is famous today as the author of the first dictionary of the English language, and as the subject of one of the most famous biographies of all time (by James Boswell). Also known as a poet, critic, journalist, philosopher and editor, he was one of the most celebrated figures of his day. He died in 1709.
Published May 28, 2009 by OUP Oxford. 505 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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This is a lively, and on the whole readable, omnium gatherum of English poets- and their lives- from Beowulf to Dylan Thomas, and of American poets from Emerson to Robert Lowell.

Aug 27 1959 | Read Full Review of The Lives of the Poets: A Sel...

The New York Review of Books

Johnson on the English Language: The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson, Volume XVIII.

Jun 22 2006 | Read Full Review of The Lives of the Poets: A Sel...

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