Remember spoof about Dr. Samuel Johnson in the old Blackadder series? The episode was one of Rowan Atkinson’s favourites (the actor that played Edmund Blackadder) and is known as Ink and Incapability. Well, this is your chance to learn more about Dr. Johnson and his world!
Johnson was a huge man–a giant in physique
and a giant intellect. His life spans most of
the eighteenth century. He was the son of a poor
Litchfield bookseller and after a spell at Oxford
and an unsuccessful attempt to run a private
school he came to London to seek a career.
Fortune he never found but fame he did. He
discovered in London “the full tide of human
existence” and revelled in its variety and vitality.
Here were the intellectual and artistic companions
with whom he could converse into the early
hours of the morning. Here also he established
a reputation as a wit, as a man oflearning, and as
a writer. His talk, fortunately preserved by
James Boswell, has echoed down the centuries.
His Lives of the Poets and his commentary on
Shakespeare’s plays are still studied, and his
Dictionary, as Ivor Brown says, “stabilised the
The eighteenth century was the age of elegance.
before the onset of the Industrial Revolution.
English life, with its splendour of mansions amid
primitive farming, was mainly country life; but
London was growing in size and in the renown
of its society. Noblemen toured Europe and
brought back the new craze for classical design.
The Adam Brothers, Wedgewood and Sheraton
were creating beauty in building and the crafts.
The writers whom Johnson knew included
Oliver Goldsmith, Richard Brinsley Sheridan,
Edward Gibbon and Adam Smith. The artists
Reynolds and Gainsborough were painting
superb portraits. Great players bestrode the
But changes were taking place. Watt and
Boulton and Arkwright had begun to usher in
the new age of machines. Smeaton, Brindley
and Telford practised new engineering skills.
Agriculture was improved with new methods.
Cook, Clive and Wolfe were expanding the
Empire, while the American . colonists were
given good reason to fight for their independ-
ence and establish their own republic.
Ivor Brown brilliantly sketches this great
period of history in which Dr. Johnson lived,
and his book is illustrated with over sixty
photographs. Here in pictures and in prose are
the people, the arts, the achievements and the
pleasures of the time.
Illustrated with over 60 photographs
In fair condition. One blank page removed in the front of the book. Paper cover in poor condition.
A special book and not just for Blackadder fans!