Samuel Johnson was an English author. Beginning as a Grub Street journalist,
he made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist,
moralist, novelist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer.
Johnson was a devout Anglican and political conservative, and has been
described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English
history". His early works include the biography The Life of Richard Savage,
the poems London and The Vanity of Human Wishes, and the play Irene. After
nine years of work, Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language was
published in 1755; it had a far-reaching impact on Modern English and has
been described as "one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship".
His later works included essays, an influential annotated edition of William
Shakespeare's plays, and the widely read novel Rasselas. In 1763, he
befriended James Boswell, with whom he later travelled to Scotland; Johnson
described their travels in A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland.
Towards the end of his life, he produced the massive and influential Lives
of the Most Eminent English Poets, a collection of biographies and
evaluations of 17th- and 18th-century poets.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
The London Lock Hospital, the first clinic specialising in the treatment of
venereal diseases, opened.
American telescope-maker and astronomer Alvan Graham Clark first observed
the faint white dwarf companion of Sirius, the brightest star in the night
The North Sea flood and its associated storm began hitting the coastlines of
several European countries along the North Sea (Zuid-Beveland in the
Netherlands pictured during the flood), eventually killing more than 2,000
Aboard NASA's Mercury-Redstone 2, Ham the Chimp became the first hominid
launched into outer space.
The Winter Soldier Investigation, a three-day media event sponsored by the
anti-war organization Vietnam Veterans Against the War to publicize war
crimes and other atrocities by American forces and their allies during the
Vietnam War, began.
Suspects were arrested in Birmingham, UK, accused of plotting to kidnap and
eventual behead a Muslim British soldier serving in Iraq.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. To fall into ruin or disuse.
2. To cause to become ruined or put into disrepair.
3. To squander or waste
Wikiquote quote of the day:
At this point in history, the most radical, pervasive, and earth-shaking
transformation would occur simply if everybody truly evolved to a mature,
rational, and responsible ego, capable of freely participating in the open
exchange of mutual self-esteem. There is the "edge of history." There would
be a real New Age. --Ken Wilber
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