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BROWSE THROUGH THE PAGES OF SAMUEL JOHNSON'S DICTIONARY
The Levenger Press edition includes an enlightening
introduction by Jack Lynch... more than 150 notes to various entries... three helpful
new reference indexes... a bibliography and suggested reading.
The first index offers insight as to what Shakespeare really meant in
his writing. The many Shakespearean quotations found in the Dictionary are listed
by work. (Johnson didn’t always cite the work, but this index makes amends for that.)
The second index lists the quotations by Milton, Dryden, Swift and other great writers found in the Dictionary, alphabetical by author.
The third index lists some of the more unusual words or definitions that
you’ll find in the Dictionary, including some zingers of insults. They’re arranged
by topics such as Law, Medicine and the Sexes. (See all the topics on the Table
of Contents page.)
Johnson’s “Preface” of 1755 and “Plan” of 1747, both historic treatises
on the dynamics of the English language and the challenges in defining it, are reproduced
in their entirety.
Here are a few pages from the Dictionary. The presentation is in two colors and
on a lie-flat binding, for ease of reading. The words being defined are in green,
as are the attributions for the quotations.
This edition is scrupulously faithful to the original. For each word
selected, Johnson’s full entry is transcribed - from the various definitions
(numbered) to the many quotations (in italics) to the etymology [in brackets]
and the spellings of the day.
A very fine cat, indeed
Just outside Samuel Johnson’s house at 17 Gough Square in London
stands this statue of Johnson’s cat Hodge, perched atop... the Dictionary, of course.
Johnson doted on his feline companion, as a somewhat disapproving Boswell noted,
and would bring him oysters when he was ill (Hodge, that is, not Boswell).
Though hodge-podge is in the Dictionary, the definition
does not shed light on this Hodge, whose name was probably a derivation of Roger.
He was a black cat, as depicted here, and by his owner’s account “a very fine cat
indeed.” Today a black cat named Lily, who lives next door to 17 Gough Square at
the curator’s house, spends much of the day visiting Hodge’s old haunt.
Our thanks to Natasha McEnroe and Rachel Kennedy of Dr. Johnson’s House for telling us the story of Hodge.