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Title: Samuel Johnson and Sir Thomas Browne
Author: Hitchings, Christian Nicholas Henry.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3579 2165
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis explores the literary and intellectual relationship between Samuel Johnson and Sir Thomas Browne. It demonstrates the importance of Johnson's contribution to the history of criticism of Browne, and also constitutes a case study of Johnson's methods in compiling his Dictionary. I show what grounds there are for believing that Browne was of special importance to Johnson, and that there were significant affinities between the two writers. I set my work against the background of existing scholarship, which tends to neglect the links between Johnson and Browne. I consider the decline of Browne's reputation in the years that followed his death, suggesting how it is possible to see Johnson's work on Browne as a significant recuperation. I then examine Johnson's Life of Browne and the edition of Christian Morals to which it was prefixed, arguing that the Life is an important event in the development of Johnson's biographical method. I next consider the relationship between Browne's natural philosophy and Johnson's, focusing on three particular areas in which their thinking is allied: the emphasis on experiment and observation, the moral purpose of natural philosophy, and the attraction of `strangeness'. Thereafter I examine in detail Johnson's extensive use of extracts from Browne's works in his Dictionary. First I provide a description of Johnson's deployment of illustrative quotations culled from Browne, showing the distribution and sources of quotations, including those added for the fourth edition; the result is a `map' of the Dictionary's use of Browne. I then analyse these findings, in order to determine what fields of knowledge they delineate, as well as how they illustrate Johnson's critical interests and priorities. Finally, I consider Browne's nineteenth-century afterlife. I chart the influence of Johnson's critique and uses of Browne, and examine the championing of Browne by Coleridge, Hazlitt, Lamb and others
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available