By John Hertz: Now and then I say something positive about Samuel Johnson (1709-1784). Something like “one of the greatest writers English has known”.
Is it because you agree with his politics?
Because you agree with his religion?
Because you agree with his opinions?
Because you want to write like him?
He says things wonderfully. We don’t use English today the way 18th Century people did; I don’t propose to try. But put your mind there for a moment. Here he is in his Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (1773; published 1775). He’s on the Isle of Mull.
that care which is always necessary, and will hardly ever be taken
Here’s one more – earlier, actually; he’s just entering the Highlands.
every claim of superiority irritates competition; injuries will sometimes be done, and be more injuriously defended; retaliation will sometimes be attempted, and the debt exacted with too much interest
Isn’t that (as I heard the beatboxer D-Nice say the other night) superdope?
Isn’t it amazing astounding fantastic?