Samuel Johnson Among the Modernists

BookSamuel Johnson Among the Modernists

Samuel Johnson Among the Modernists



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The essays collected in Samuel Johnson Among the Modernists frame this major writer in an unfamiliar milieu and company: high modernism and its aftermath. By bringing Johnson to bear on the various authors and topics gathered here, the book foregrounds some aspects of modernism and its practitioners that would otherwise remain hidden and elusive, even as it sheds new light on Johnson. Writers discussed include T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Jorge Luis Borges, and Vladimir Nabokov. Chapter contributors include major scholars in their field, including Melvyn New, Jack Lynch, Thomas M. Curley, Greg Clingham and Clement Hawes. These ground-breaking essays offer a vital and exciting interrogation of Modernism from a wholly fresh perspective.

'These consistently informative, persuasive, and provocative essays should reshape notions of both literary history and Johnson's place in that history.'
Elizabeth Kraft, CHOICE

'The most interesting essays are those focused on Samuel Beckett, Virginia Woolf, and T. S. Eliot, those Modernists most explicitly concerned with Johnson [...] and Lee becomes very interesting when he turns his attention to their critical judgments; the two are heretical in the same attractive ways. [...] The literary criticism of Johnson and the Modernists [provide] the most fertile site of future scholarship. [...] The essays in the collection are all intellectually alive and well written [and] may provide a model for a new field of study: not biographies of Johnson the man but histories of Johnson the icon.'
Lance Wilcox, The Scriblerian

'In addition to Lee’s thoughtful introduction, this collection includes nine chapters that put Johnson into conversation with various authors and aspects of the first sixty years of the twentieth century. [...] Any reader of his fine translatio studii will have a deeper appreciation for what Clingham calls the paradoxical “invisibility” of these master prose stylists.[...] Anthony Lee has done Johnsonian and modernists alike a service in bringing these essays together and to light.'
John Sitter, 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries of the Early Modern Era

'This is prose written in a Johnsonian spirit, even if the style bears few of the master's hallmarks. [...] Each of its nine chapters proposes a sort of conversation between Johnson and other eighteenth-century writers, or between Johnson and a more recent author, or both. The comparison of Woolf with Johnson is perhaps the most fruitful of all the pairings in the volume, [...] partly because her literary-critical, biographical and essayistic career shared so much ground with his.'Freya Johnston, New Rambler

Author Information

Anthony W. Lee's research interests center upon Samuel Johnson and his circle, mentoring, and intertexuality. He has published five books and more than thirty essays on Johnson and eighteenth-century literature and culture. Anthony has taught at a number of colleges and universities, including the University of Arkansas, Arkansas Tech University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, the University of the District of Columbia, and the University of Maryland University College, where he also served as Director of the English and Humanities Program.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Short Titles9
Introduction: Modernity Johnson?13
1. Johnson, T. S. Eliot, and the City33
2. “Saint Samuel of Fleet Street”: Johnson and Woolf53
3. “Intellectually ‘Fuori del Mondo’”: Pound's Johnson81
4. The Antinomies of Progress: Johnson, Conrad, Joyce97
5. Johnson Goes to War127
6. Samuel Beckett and Samuel Johnson: Like-minded Masters of Life’s Limitations145
7. The “Plexed Artistry” of Nabokov and Johnson177
8. Johnson and Borges: Some Reflections201
9. Ernest Borneman’s Tomorrow Is Now (1959): Thoughts about a Lost Novel, with Glances toward Samuel Johnson and other Modernists225