By George Saintsbury
This Elibron Classics e-book is a facsimile reprint of a 1910 version through Macmillan and Co., constrained, London.
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The conventional view of Samuel Johnson as opposed to details, trifles, and aesthetic mediocrity purely half-explains his authorial personality. Samuel Johnson and the artwork of Sinking 1709-1791 argues that, in a interval ruled through social and literary hierarchies, Johnson's works show a defining curiosity in "little," "mean," or "low" issues and folks.
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Additional resources for A History of Elizabethan Literature
Among the innumerablesortsof English books,and infinite fardelsof printed pamphlets,wherewiththis country is pestered,all shopsstuffed,and every studyfurnished; the greaterpart, I think, in anyone kind, are suchas are eithermerepoetical,or which tend in somerespects(as either in matter or form) to poetry. Of such books, therefore, sith I have been one that have had a desireto readnot the fewest,and becauseit is an argument\\hich men of great learninghaveno leisureto handle,or at leasthavingto do with more serious matters do leastregard.
A few words have to be said in passing as to the miscellanies which played such an important part in the poetical literature of the day. Tottel and The Mirror for Magistrates (which was, considering its constant accretions, a sort of miscellany) have been already noticed. They were followed by not a few others. The first in date wasTheParadiseof Dainty Devices(1576), edited by R. Edwards, a dramatist of industry if not of genius,and containing a certain amount of interestingwork. It was very popular, going through nine or ten editions in thirty years, but with a few scattered exceptions it does not yield much to the historian of English poetry.
His father was Recorder of Dublin, and he himself, having been born about 1547, was educated at University College, Oxford, and went thence, if not to the Inns of Court, at any rate to those of Chancery, and became a student of Furnival's Inn. He died at Brusselsin 1618. Here is an exampleof his prose, the latter part of which is profitable for matter as well as for form:- " How beyt1 I haueheerehaulf a guesh,that two sortsof carperswyl seeme too spume at this myne enterprise. Thee one vtterlie ignorant, the oother meanlyeletterd.