Enacts Johnson's celebrated variation on a theme from Horace—it does not merely delight and instruct, but rather instructs by delighting us... DeMaria proves himself a reader altogether worthy of his subject.
Fascinatingly perceptive both of Johnson's own reading habits and of their significance in the cultural history of reading.
Both a scholarly and an imaginative achievement, combining detailed detective work, abstract categorization, and sympathetic understanding. The finished product re-creates the detailed fabric of Johnson's reading career while locating it in a cultural landscape of rapid publication and growing literacy... Eminently readable, learned, and thoughtful.
An intellectual history of the writer and his age.
DeMaria presents an imaginative re-creation of Johnson's library and suggests how his reading habits offered a model for preventing the disappearance of the reader.
This book's strong and original starting point is to study Samuel Johnson through his activity as a reader, not as a writer. By looking at Johnson as a representative and influential reader, DeMaria helps us to understand not only one author but the history of reading itself. No one can read this book without learning a great deal about practices of reading and how they change from one age to the next.
1. The Life of Reading
2. Notes and Marginalia
5. Mere Reading
6. Curious Reading
7. Samuel Johnson and the Future of Reading