Samuel Johnson citations

Samuel Johnson photo
7  0

Samuel Johnson

Date de naissance: 18. septembre 1709
Date de décès: 13. décembre 1784

Publicité

Samuel Johnson , né le 18 septembre 1709 et mort le 13 décembre 1784, est l'un des principaux auteurs de la littérature britannique. Poète, essayiste, biographe, lexicographe, traducteur, pamphlétaire, journaliste, éditeur, moraliste et polygraphe, il est aussi un critique littéraire des plus réputés. Ses commentaires sur Shakespeare, en particulier, sont considérés comme des classiques. Anglican pieux et fervent Tory , il a été présenté comme « probablement le plus distingué des hommes de lettres de l'histoire de l'Angleterre ». La première biographie lui ayant été consacrée, The Life of Samuel Johnson de James Boswell, parue en 1791, est le « plus célèbre de tous les travaux de biographie de toute la littérature ». Au Royaume-Uni, Samuel Johnson est appelé « Docteur Johnson » en raison du titre universitaire de Doctor of Laws, docteur en droit, qui lui fut accordé à titre honorifique.

Né à Lichfield dans le Staffordshire, il a suivi les cours du Pembroke College à Oxford pendant un an, jusqu'à ce que son manque d'argent l'oblige à le quitter. Après avoir travaillé comme instituteur, il vint à Londres où il commença à écrire des articles dans The Gentleman's Magazine. Ses premières œuvres sont la biographie de son ami, le poète Richard Savage, The Life of Mr Richard Savage , les poèmes London et The Vanity of Human Wishes et une tragédie Irene.

Toutefois, son extrême popularité tient d'une part à son œuvre majeure, le Dictionary of the English Language, publié en 1755 après neuf années de travail, et d'autre part à la biographie que lui a consacrée James Boswell. Avec le Dictionary, dont les répercussions sur l'anglais moderne sont considérables, Johnson a rédigé à lui seul l'équivalent, pour la langue anglaise, du Dictionnaire de l'Académie française. Le Dictionary, décrit par Batte en 1977 comme « l'un des plus grands exploits individuels de l'érudition », fit la renommée de son auteur et, jusqu'à la première édition du Oxford English Dictionary en 1928, il était le dictionnaire britannique de référence. Quant à la Vie de Samuel Johnson par Boswell, elle fait date dans le domaine de la biographie. C'est de cet ouvrage monumental que proviennent nombre de bons mots prononcés par Johnson, mais aussi beaucoup de ses commentaires et de ses réflexions, qui ont valu à Johnson d'être « l'Anglais le plus souvent cité après Shakespeare ».

Ses dernières œuvres sont des essais, une influente édition annotée de The Plays of William Shakespeare et le roman largement lu Rasselas. En 1763, il se lie d'amitié avec James Boswell, avec qui il voyage plus tard en Écosse ; Johnson décrit leurs voyages dans A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland . Vers la fin de sa vie, il rédige Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets , un recueil de biographies de poètes des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles.

Johnson était grand et robuste, mais ses gestes bizarres et ses tics étaient déroutants pour certains lorsqu'ils le rencontraient pour la première fois. The Life of Samuel Johnson et d'autres biographies de ses contemporains décrivaient le comportement et les tics de Johnson avec tant de détails que l'on a pu diagnostiquer ultérieurement qu'il avait souffert du syndrome de Gilles de la Tourette, inconnu au XVIIIe siècle, pendant la majeure partie de sa vie. Après une série de maladies, il meurt le 13 décembre 1784 au soir, et est enterré à l'abbaye de Westminster, à Londres. Après sa mort, Johnson commence à être reconnu comme ayant eu un effet durable sur la critique littéraire, et même comme le seul grand critique de la littérature anglaise.

Auteurs similaires

Jasper Ridley
biographe, juriste
Elizabeth Gilbert photo
Elizabeth Gilbert2
écrivain américaine
John Aubrey photo
John Aubrey
biographe, archéologue
Edmund Gosse photo
Edmund Gosse
poète et biographe anglais

Citations Samuel Johnson

Publicité
Publicité

„Patriotism is not necessarily included in rebellion. A man may hate his king, yet not love his country.“

— Samuel Johnson
Context: Some claim a place in the list of patriots, by an acrimonious and unremitting opposition to the court. This mark is by no means infallible. Patriotism is not necessarily included in rebellion. A man may hate his king, yet not love his country.

„All the performances of human art, at which we look with praise or wonder, are instances of the resistless force of perseverance: it is by this that the quarry becomes a pyramid, and that distant countries are united with canals.“

— Samuel Johnson
Context: All the performances of human art, at which we look with praise or wonder, are instances of the resistless force of perseverance: it is by this that the quarry becomes a pyramid, and that distant countries are united with canals. If a man was to compare the effect of a single stroke of the pick-axe, or of one impression of the spade, with the general design and last result, he would be overwhelmed by the sense of their disproportion; yet those petty operations, incessantly continued, in time surmount the greatest difficulties, and mountains are levelled, and oceans bounded, by the slender force of human beings. It is therefore of the utmost importance that those, who have any intention of deviating from the beaten roads of life, and acquiring a reputation superior to names hourly swept away by time among the refuse of fame, should add to their reason, and their spirit, the power of persisting in their purposes; acquire the art of sapping what they cannot batter, and the habit of vanquishing obstinate resistance by obstinate attacks. No. 43 (14 August 1750) http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=Joh1Ram.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=43&division=div1

„Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dictionaries, whom mankind have considered, not as the pupil, but the slave of science, the pioneer of literature, doomed only to remove rubbish and clear obstructions from the paths through which Learning and Genius press forward to conquest and glory, without bestowing a smile on the humble drudge that facilitates their progress. Every other author may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach, and even this negative recompense has been yet granted to very few.“

— Samuel Johnson
Context: It is the fate of those, who toil at the lower employments of life, to be rather driven by the fear of evil, than attracted by the prospect of good; to be exposed to censure, without hope of praise; to be disgraced by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where success would have been without applause, and diligence without reward. Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dictionaries, whom mankind have considered, not as the pupil, but the slave of science, the pioneer of literature, doomed only to remove rubbish and clear obstructions from the paths through which Learning and Genius press forward to conquest and glory, without bestowing a smile on the humble drudge that facilitates their progress. Every other author may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach, and even this negative recompense has been yet granted to very few. Preface http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/preface.html

„I will not undertake to maintain against the concurrent and unvaried testimony of all ages and of all nations. There is no people, rude or learned, among whom apparitions of the dead are not related and believed.“

— Samuel Johnson
Context: “That the dead are seen no more,” said Imlac, “I will not undertake to maintain against the concurrent and unvaried testimony of all ages and of all nations. There is no people, rude or learned, among whom apparitions of the dead are not related and believed. This opinion, which perhaps prevails as far as human nature is diffused, could become universal only by its truth: those that never heard of one another would not have agreed in a tale which nothing but experience can make credible. That it is doubted by single cavillers can very little weaken the general evidence, and some who deny it with their tongues confess it by their fears. “Yet I do not mean to add new terrors to those which have already seized upon Pekuah. There can be no reason why spectres should haunt the Pyramid more than other places, or why they should have power or will to hurt innocence and purity. Our entrance is no violation of their privileges: we can take nothing from them; how, then, can we offend them?” Chapter 31

Publicité

„It ought to be deeply impressed on the minds of all who have voices in this national deliberation, that no man can deserve a seat in parliament, who is not a patriot.“

— Samuel Johnson
Context: It ought to be deeply impressed on the minds of all who have voices in this national deliberation, that no man can deserve a seat in parliament, who is not a patriot. No other man will protect our rights: no other man can merit our confidence. A patriot is he whose publick conduct is regulated by one single motive, the love of his country; who, as an agent in parliament, has, for himself, neither hope nor fear, neither kindness nor resentment, but refers every thing to the common interest.

„That book is good in vain, which the reader throws away.“

— Samuel Johnson
Context: It is not by comparing line with line, that the merit of great works is to be estimated, but by their general effects and ultimate result. It is easy to note a weak line, and write one more vigorous in its place; to find a happiness of expression in the original, and transplant it by force into the version: but what is given to the parts may be subducted from the whole, and the reader may be weary, though the critick may commend. Works of imagination excel by their allurement and delight; by their power of attracting and detaining the attention. That book is good in vain, which the reader throws away. He only is the master, who keeps the mind in pleasing captivity; whose pages are perused with eagerness, and in hope of new pleasure are perused again; and whose conclusion is perceived with an eye of sorrow, such as the traveller casts upon departing day. The Life of Dryden

„Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords“

— Samuel Johnson
Context: Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords: but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain; and expectations improperly indulged must end in disappointment. If it be asked, what is the improper expectation which it is dangerous to indulge, experience will quickly answer, that it is such expectation as is dictated not by reason, but by desire; expectation raised, not by the common occurrences of life, but by the wants of the expectant; an expectation that requires the common course of things to be changed, and the general rules of action to be broken. Letter, June 8, 1762 [to an unnamed recipient], p. 103

„I fancy mankind may come, in time, to write all aphoristically, except in narrative“

— Samuel Johnson
Context: I fancy mankind may come, in time, to write all aphoristically, except in narrative; grow weary of preparation, and connection, and illustration, and all those arts by which a big book is made. August 16, 1773

Prochain
Anniversaires aujourd'hui
Jan de Hartog photo
Jan de Hartog
romancier néerlandais 1914 - 2002
Colin Tudge
écrivain britannique 1943
Emilio Gino Segrè photo
Emilio Gino Segrè
physicien italien 1905 - 1989
Karl Hess photo
Karl Hess
journaliste américain 1923 - 1994
Un autre 69 ans aujourd'hui
Auteurs similaires