"Steel for the mind" : Samuel Johnson and critical discourse /
Charles Hinnant.
Newark : University of Delaware Press ; Toronto : Associated University Presses, c1994.
xi, 251 p. ; 25 cm.
0874134927 (alk. paper)
More Details
Newark : University of Delaware Press ; Toronto : Associated University Presses, c1994.
0874134927 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 237-244) and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1994-06:
Johnson's literary criticism has been accused of representing a bland, tepid neoclassicism. Hinnant defends Johnson from these charges: Johnson, he argues, is not the "Great Cham" making ex cathedra pronouncements, but rather a powerful thinker genuinely engaged in a critical dialogue. The Rambler and Idler, Rasselas, the Shakespeare edition, and especially the Lives of the Poets provide the material for exploring such topics as mimesis, genre theory, canon formation, and originality--topics placed not only in an 18th-century context, but also in a modern one, as Johnson is examined against the background of logocentrism, New Historicism, semiotics, and the anxiety of influence. Such a study always risks making excessive claims for Johnson's anticipation of modern theory, but Hinnant is careful not to overstate his case. One curious exclusion: the focus on Johnson's writings instead of the talk in Boswell confines the study to poetry and drama criticism, and Johnson's comments on Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels, and Tom Jones, for instance, are left out. But in the area Hinnant chooses to explore, he makes an important contribution to Johnsonian criticism. J. T. Lynch; University of Pennsylvania
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Choice, June 1994
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Unpaid Annotation
This full-scale reexamination of Johnson's literary criticism locates these writings within the context of current critical debates. Through juxtapositions of Johnson with such movements as poststructuralism, reader-response criticism, feminism, and the new historicism, the author creates a justification for reexamining our conventional assumptions about Johnson's writings.
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Between Theory and Practicep. 3
Tradition and Critical Differencep. 19
Author, Work, and Audiencep. 50
Presence and Representationp. 76
Recollection, Curiosity, and the Theory of Affectsp. 104
The Dialectic of Original and Copyp. 123
Redefining Genrep. 152
Language as the Dress of Thoughtp. 183
Conclusionp. 210
Notesp. 223
Bibliographyp. 237
Indexp. 245
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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