Early life of Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson (18 September 1709 – 13 December 1784) was an English author. He was a poet, essayist, moralist, novelist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. His early works, especially London and Life of Mr Richard Savage, contain Johnson’s emerging views on biography, morality, and literature in general.

About Early life of Samuel Johnson in brief

Summary Early life of Samuel JohnsonSamuel Johnson (18 September 1709 – 13 December 1784) was an English author. He was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, to a bookseller and his wife, Sarah Ford. Johnson was a sickly infant who early on began to exhibit the tics that would influence how people viewed him in his later years. He began his literary career as a minor Grub Street hack writer, but he went on to make lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, novelist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. He also wrote the powerful poem London, an 18th-century version of Juvenal’s Third Satire, as well as the tragic drama Irene, which was not produced until 1749, and even then was not successful. His early works, especially London and Life of Mr Richard Savage, contain Johnson’s emerging views on biography, morality, and literature in general. Johnson died of scrofula, known at that time as the evil of evil, at St James’s Palace in London in 1784. He is buried at St Mary’s Church, Lichfield. Johnson’s father, Michael Johnson, was described as a ‘yeoman’ and a ‘gentleman’ in the Stationers’ Company records, but there is little evidence to suggest that he was from a noble family. Michael Johnson was engaged to be married to a local woman, Mary Neild, but she cancelled the engagement. Twenty years later, in 1706, he married Sarah Ford, who came from a middle-class milling and farming family and was twelve years his junior, daughter of Cornelius Ford.

Although both families had money, Samuel Johnson often claimed that he grew up in poverty. It is uncertain what happened between the marriage of his parents and Samuel’s birth three years later to provoke a decline in the family’s fortunes, but Michael Johnson quickly became overwhelmed with debt from which he was never able to recover. Samuel’s godfathers were Samuel Swynfen, a physician and graduate of Pembroke College, Oxford, and Richard Swynfen, a lawyer and coroner, Wakefield, a coroner, and a town clerk and clerk. Johnson received the Queen’s touch on March 30, 1712, when he was placed in the nursing care of Joan Marklew and Sir John Floyer, a former physician to King Charles II. He died in London on December 13, 1784, and was buried in St James’ Palace in front of his wife Elizabeth Porter, a widow 20 years older than himself, and their two children. Johnson is the only English author to have written a biography of a famous person, and to have been a member of the Society of Antiquaries of London. His works include London, Life of Richard Savage and Irene. Johnson also wrote a play, Irene and a play about the death of a man called the ‘King’s Evil’.