by Brenda S. Cox
“. . . like my dear Dr. Johnson, I believe I have dealt more in notions than facts.”—Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra, Feb. 8, 1807, quoting from a letter from Johnson to Boswell.
What would it be like to write a dictionary?
Samuel Johnson, one of Jane Austen’s favorite writers, put together the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language. For the story, see my post in Jane Austen’s World, “Jane Austen and Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary.”
Johnson was mainly known as a moral writer, and an orthodox Anglican. So it’s not surprising that Jane called him her “dear Dr. Johnson.” You can read more about his moral writings in this review.
My apologies to my readers that I haven’t written for a while. Currently I’m involved both in moving and in working on my book and searching for a publisher. I hope to begin blogging more regularly again in a month or two. Thanks for your patience!
Image is a portrait of Samuel Johnson by Joshua Reynolds, 1775, public domain, wikimedia. Johnson is concentrating on the words in a book; no doubt he did this many, many times in preparing his dictionary!