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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.

Table of Contents

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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.)

Page 609

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The second index lists the quotations by Milton, Dryden, Swift and other great writers found in the Dictionary, alphabetical by author.

Page 614

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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.)

Page 637

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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.

Prefix and Plan

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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.

Page 8283

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A Very Fine Cat
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.

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Also by Levenger Press