Abstract

Samuel Johnson was interested in encyclopedias, and in his own lifetime, encyclopedias were interested in him. This essay examines five eighteenth-century encyclopedias: Rees's revision of Chambers' Cyclopaedia (1778-86), Kippis's revised Biographia Britannica (1777-93), and the first three editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1768-71, 1777-84, 1788-97). In these five works, I have located 121 articles in which Johnson is mentioned or quoted as an authority; by giving a sense of the character of his presence, the essay traces the evolution of his reputation. The essay also draws attention to a number of curious details, including early critiques of Johnson's work, and mentions of Johnsonian publications or attributions that have been sometimes overlooked. The whole is intended to be a contribution to the understanding of Johnson's near-contemporary reception and reputation.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3192
Print ISSN
0098-2601
Pages
pp. 37-64
Launched on MUSE
2009-08-12
Open Access
No
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