Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784) was an influential English poet, critic, author of the first English dictionary, and essayist. And as of now, he’s a blogger.
Johnson’s best writing is contained in the essays he wrote for London newspapers, The Idler, The Rambler, and The Adventurer. He varied his topic every week, and wrote about nearly anything he pleased, which resulted in some very good and some very bad work.
In short, Samuel Johnson would have a written a great blog.
You can still read Johnson’s essays in book forms – there are countless collections available for your pleasure, and they’re available at any local library that still carries, you know, books. But sitting down to read his essays straight through in book form is really sub-optimal – he jumps from literary criticism of Milton to a fictional story about a landowner to a political rant about Parliament – but it’s perfect for occasional blog reading. It worked as a semi-frequent newspaper column, but it’s terrible as a book.
So: this site posts Samuel Johnson’s essays in the same way his original readers found him – in a semi-frequent way, posted 260 years after Johnson wrote them.
Who’s behind this? That’s me, Matt Kirkland. I run a bunch of vaguely literary and historical projects like this one, including:
- Dracula Daily, a time-shifted reading of Bram Stoker’s Dracula via email newsletters
- The Charles Williams Library, where I designed and published collectors hardback editions of the novels of overlooked author Charles Williams
- Dumb Cuneiform, a service that will take your short message, transcribe it into cuneiform, and send you a real clay tablet in the mail
- TilmanRiemenschneider.com, a catalogue of works from the incredible medieval woodcarver with that very difficult-to-spell name
Questions? Ask away: Email me: matt at mattkirkland dot com.