Welcome to the Johnson Society of Australia
A traveller’s tales - John Byrne in sacred Johnsonian territory Print E-mail
Written by John Byrne   
Monday, 28 November 2005 01:44

In the April and July issues of The Southern Johnsonian I previewed my planned journey to England for August and September. I was looking forward with a great deal of excitement to this journey during which I planned to take part in the celebrations of the 250th anniversary of the publication of Johnson's Dictionary. What my five weeks in England brought home to me was that we Johnsonians are part of a world-wide sodality of enthusiasts who love the 18th century. Everywhere I went I was welcomed with great kindness and generosity. I am proud to say that our own Society is held in very high regard by Johnsonians all over the world.

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“Spin Doctor” Johnson Print E-mail
Written by Basil Stafford Jr   
Monday, 28 November 2005 01:41

Johnson may be known as a moralist but that does not mean he did not adopt sharp practice if it suited his ends.

Oliver Goldsmith had just written a comedy but was struggling to find a name for it. Johnson’s club assembled at the British Coffee-house and finally somebody suggested “She Stoops to Conquer” which was obviously adopted. Olivers’s next problem was that Colman, the manager of Covent Garden, had rejected it. The club decided that they would do what was necessary to get the play staged. Led by Johnson, Colman was bullied into staging it against his better judgment.

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Fleeman Lecture illuminated by Beckett reading Print E-mail
Written by Bryan Reid   
Monday, 28 November 2005 01:36

A fascinating account of the influence of Samuel Johnson on the great Irish playwright Samuel Beckett captured an attentive audience for the 2005 Fleeman Lecture on September 17, delivered by Professor Chris Ackerley, of the University of Otago, New Zealand.

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Mystery of Johnson’s Summer House Print E-mail
Written by Barry Sheppard   
Monday, 28 November 2005 01:39

When I was in London in 1984, I spotted the “Johnson Summer House” in the garden of Kenwood House on the edge of Hampstead Heath. It had been a favourite resting and contemplating place of Johnson’s during his visits to the Thrales at Streatham Park. Found, almost derelict in a suburban back garden in the early 1960s, it was restored and presented to the London County Council, and then placed in the Kenwood grounds.

 

On our recent visit, I looked for it, in vain. Attendants at Kenwood were vague about its fate. One told me she thought it may have been destroyed by fire; another thought it may have been damaged beyond repair during a storm in 1987. I rang the curator of Kenwood many times, but could never catch her in her office. Does any JSA member know its fate?

 
"Inviting package" on the Dictionary Print E-mail
Written by John Wiltshire   
Monday, 08 August 2005 02:39

Henry Hitchings,  Dr Johnson’s Dictionary; The Extraordinary Story of the Book that Defined the World London: John Murray, 2005, 278 pp., $44.95, ISBN 0 7195 6631 2

One of the most attractive commemorations of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language is this book, a scholarly study of the Dictionary brilliantly packaged as an inviting volume for casual reading. Organised as a series of little essays, each headed by a word and a definition from the Dictionary, it takes you through Johnson’s life at the same time as it takes you through the alphabet.

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