The Private Lives of Authors: Samuel Johnson

By September 18, 2019Authors, Language, News

Samuel Johnson was born on the 18th of September, 1709 in the family home above his father’s bookshop in Lichfield, Staffordshire. His mother, Sarah, was 40 when she gave birth to Johnson which was considered an unusually late pregnancy. When he was born, Samuel did not cry, which concerned the nurses and his family at the time. His own aunt exclaimed that “she would not have picked such a poor creature up in the street”.

As a very young child, Johnson showed signs of high intelligence and was embarrassed by his parents apparent need to show off their son and his “newly acquired accomplishments”. At the age of three, he began his formal education which was provided by his mother; she had him memorise and recite passages from the Book of Common Prayer.

Today Johnson is best known as a lexicographer, having finished his dictionary in 1755, an immense job for an individual that included over 42,000 entries and took nine years to assemble. Aside from his work with the dictionary, many people may not know much about Dr Samuel Johnson, so here are 12 fascinating facts about the 18th century writer.

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