Tag Archives: Samuel Johnson

Is Old Age Becoming Overrated?

A “New Yorker” article on aging turns to literature to debunk the notion that aging is a good thing.

Posted in Aristotle, Bogan (Louise), Chaucer (Geoffrey), Johnson (Samuel), Plato, Shakespeare (William), Swift (Jonathan), Tennyson (Alfred Lord), Whitman (Walt), Yeats (William Butler) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Anxiety of Harold Bloom

The late Harold Bloom longed to be a Samuel Johnson but never got there.

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Fathers & Sons: He Goes His Way, I Mine

Wednesday The talk with my son that I described in Monday’s post reminded me of talks with my own father where I was sure he was wrong. I’ve since concluded that I was not as right as I thought I was and that our disagreements came down to our different life arcs. Our arguments came […]

Posted in Beckett (Samuel), Johnson (Samuel), Pascal (Blaise), Sartre (Jean Paul), Tennyson (Alfred Lord) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My “Last Lecture”

I share here my “last lecture” from my retirement ceremony. (But rest assured: I will not be retiring from this blog.)

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Theories about Lit’s Impact

A transcript of a talk given at the University of Ljubljana on “how literature changes lives.”

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Implore His Aid, in His Decisions Rest

The famous passage from Ecclesiastes–“All is vanity”–inspired a great poem by Samuel Johnson. Johnson’s final conclusion is that we can find happiness only in prayer.

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Johnson: The Bard Instructs by Delighting

Although today we are sometimes suspicious when literature seeks to instruct us, Samuel Johnson considered this to be literature’s primary aim. He held up Shakespeare as proof.

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Peter Wimsey vs. Oklahoma Executions

With Oklahoma resuming its executions yesterday, we need the reminders that Dorothy Sayers and Oscar Wilde give us about holding on to our humanity.

Posted in Donne (John), Johnson (Samuel), Sayers (Dorothy), Wilde (Oscar) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

In Defense of the English Major

Adam Gopnik makes a spirited defense of the English major in a recent “New Yorker” article.

Posted in Goethe, Johnson (Samuel) | Also tagged , , | 4 Comments

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