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THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY PREFACE.
832408 A ASTOR, LENOX AND TILDEN FOUNDATIONS
R 1936 L
24, OLD BAILEY, E.C.
ENTERED AT STATIONERS HALL.]
[ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
OSWELL'S JOHNSON is for me,” said GEORGE
HENRY LEWES, a sort of tes ok. According to a man's judgment of it I am apt to form my judgment of him.” The accomplished critic expressed his surprise that so many cultivated men and women contented themselves with vague second-hand knowledge of it; and this neglect of a work which has, as he observed, delighted generations and will continue to delight posterity, he ascribed to “the mental enervation produced by a constantly increasing solicitation of the attention to new works, mostly of the mushroom type, springing up in a night to disappear in a day.” The size of the book, however, he did not omit to regard as an obstacle to its popular acceptance. This last consideration assuredly has weight in these latter days of ours, in which 'Scraps' and ' Bits' (of the “Tid' and of the * Tit' variety) are so widely diffused.
In view of the coming Centenary the Editor of this little book hopes that by presenting Johnson's various deliverances on men and things, detached from the encumbering text of Boswell, and arranged under their appropriate headings, together with a selection of his literary judgments on poets, and an ample supply of Table-Talk derived from every available source, he has succeeded in producing a faithful summary of Boswell, and at the same time a tolerably fair picture of the Doctor. On the score of convenience this plan happily will commend itself both to the serious student of Johnson and to the languid reader who may be tempted to expend a stray half-hour or so upon its perusal.