"The Works of Samuel Johnson, Vol 10" by Samuel Johnson

The Works of Samuel Johnson, Vol 10 Political Writings Samuel Johnson, Donald J. Greene

The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson
Publication date:
10 Sep 1977
Yale University Press
527 pages: 222 x 137mm

Given Johnson’s intense concern throughout his life with problems of human morality, it is not surprising, in an age when such writers as Defoe, Swift, Pope, Goldsmith, and Burke were highly politically conscious, to find Johnson turning his pen as frequently to matters of public as of private morality.
A full list of writings by Johnson with significant political content would include such pieces as his poem London, a number of his sermons, and essays in The Idler and elsewhere.  This volume presents a collection of writings with a political emphasis which do not readily fall into one or another of these categories: his early anti-Walpolian pamphlets Marmor Norfolciense and A Complete Vindication of the Licensers of the Stage, and various journalistic squibs; a competent abridgment of the debate on the offer of the Crown to Oliver Cromwell; the long series of articles on the Seven Years’ War and related matters, such as the notorious trial and execution of Admiral Byng; the four pamphlets of the 1770s—The False Alarm, Thoughts on…Falkland’s Islands, The Patriot, and Taxation No Tyranny.
Full annotation sets the events dealt with in their historical background and provides a continuous narrative of Johnson’s “political biography.”  A substantial introduction attempts an analysis of Johnson’s political attitudes.
Donald J. Greene is Leo S. Bing Professor of English at the University of Southern California. 

"Although most of these twenty-tour selections (including his four controversial tracts preceding the American uprising) were among the least available, and therefore least known, of Johnson's writings, they are truly impressive on both political and literary grounds.  This is without question the most ambitious volume yet relesaed in the Yale series, and it will probably become?thanks to the efforts of Donald Greene?one of the most valuable."?The Ohio Review

"An outstanding piece of editing and annotation.  This is not simply another volume in a series.  No other volume in the past, or in the future, has such full explanations of individual short pieces, such fascinating explications of historical points, or such challenging summations.  Greene's importance is not that of making available a mass of material which has up to this time been little read, but in doing so is arguing for a radically new approach to Johnson's political thought.  The old Johnson, which most readers have blindly accepted, Green insists, must be supplanted by a completely new approach."?James L. Clifford

"The critical apparatus of the Political Writings is magnificent: the notes tell us what we would want to know, there is a chronological table of political events alongside Johnson's contributions to current affairs journalism, and there are detailed introductions to each piece. . . . It is Greene's explanatory comments on the political background which are masterly. . . . Some of [Johnson's] most exciting and stimulating writing is to be fourn in this volume and it is well served by Professor Greene's editing."?The Johnson Society

"Well done."?Choice

"The contents of this volume, and especially Greene's introductions and notes, will force all of us to a better, that is more complex and detailed, understanding of Johnson's conservatism, skepticism, and loyaties. . . . The deft summary of the Licensing Act and the outline of the argument of Taxation No Tyranny are models of their kind, while the summary of the Byng case and the Falkland Island business are more than splendid in their lucidity."?Alan T. McKenzie, The Georgia Review

"Donald Greene's volume of Johnson's political writings continues the highest standards that one has come to expect from an Americana scholar. . . . Both in this book and his former [study] Donald Greene has put all eighteenth-century historians in his debt."?J.H. Plumb, Eighteenth Century Studies

"[Greene's] edition is magnificent. Some of the 24 pieces he includes have never before been reprinted; all are usefully annotated, bringing to bear historical context and illustrations from Johnson's other works. In long headnotes to each, Greene supplies what is in effect a connected narrative commentarty on the development of Johnson's political and economic thought. . . . All will find this volume the best context in which to read the political writings and the most usuable text in the Yale series so far."?The Virginia Quarterly