In Mind of Johnson
A Study of Johnson the Rambler

Philip Davis


"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."

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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.
Page count: 328 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


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Philip Davis lectures in the Department of English Language and Literature, University of Liverpool