Donne

More on the serendipity of the literary canon:

  • Unknown John Donne manuscript discovered in Suffolk: Found in a box, the 400-year-old volume is one of the largest handwritten collections of the poet’s verse and is expected to sell for more than £200,000.” Alison Flood. The Guardian (November 30, 2018).

[Image from Melford Hall MS]

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Remember

the Samuel Pepys site I showed you, where one entry was posted every day until the whole nine years of the diaries had been published online? Someone did the same for Samuel Johnson’s periodical essays, and here is their rationale:

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.