Saturday, April 04, 2009

Dr. Johnson

A person who has always fascinated me is Samuel Johnson, the creator of the first English dictionary. Afflicted with Tourette Syndrome, Johnson was a polymath of the highest order who wrote poetry, taught and created a popular precursor to Dickens's serial writings titled The Rambler (that would run every Tuesday and Saturday for twopence each) in which he wrote essays dealing with religion and morality.

Johnson's dictionary, which was published in 1755, was considered to be the definitive source of the English language for over 100 years until the much larger and more comprehensive Oxford English Dictionary came out in 1888, something that never ceases to amaze me as Johnson was the sole creator of his work wile the OED was the creation of many.

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