Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson was born in 1709 above his father's bookshop in Lichfield, England. He was a sickly child, scarred by smallpox, with facial and vocal tics, likely symptoms of Tourette Syndrome. But he proved a brilliant student, attending Oxford until a lack of funds forced his departure. (Numerous honorary degrees would later justify his famous sobriquet Dr. Johnson.) At twenty-five he married Elizabeth Tetty Potter, a well-off widow twenty-one years his senior. She funded a school Johnson started, but lost much of her wealth when the school failed. Wracked by guilt, Johnson walked to London and, living virtually on the street, began writing reviews, essays and news for magazines, notably The Idler and The Rambler. In 1744, he published his masterpiece, Life Of Savage, an innovative warts-and-all biography of his friend, writer Richard Savage. Johnson would write several more lives, culminating in his acclaimed three-volume Lives of The Poets. In 1746 Read More chevron_right