Samuel Johnson and the Rhythm of the Lives Back

In this talk, Philip offers a critical reflection on Johnson’s Lives of the Poets (1779-81). The aim is to elucidate some of the terms of Johnson’s artistic achievement in this critical and biographical late-life masterpiece on the English poets, their history and value, whilst highlighting the distinctively Johnsonian meaning of life (inside and outside poetry) in this the major form of the Lives.
Philip Smallwood is Emeritus Professor of English at Birmingham City University and is the author of prize-winning books, and numerous essays and articles on Samuel Johnson and the history, practice and theory of eighteenth-century literary criticism.