Samuel Johnson's early life was marked by great intelligence and an
eagerness for learning. Born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, the sickly
infant who grew up to become "arguably the most distinguished man of
letters in English history", soon began to exhibit the tics that would
colour how others viewed him in his later years. His early life was
dominated by his family's financial strain and his abortive efforts to
establish himself as a school teacher. Johnson spent a year studying at
Pembroke College, Oxford, but was unable to continue his education
there because of his lack of financial support. He tried to find
employment as a teacher, but found it impossible to secure a long-term
position. In 1735 he married Elizabeth "Tetty" Porter, a widow 20 years
his senior. The responsibilities of marriage made Johnson determined to
succeed as an educator, and encouraged him to establish his own school.
The venture was unsuccessful however, and so he decided to leave his
wife behind in Lichfield and move to London, where he spent the rest of
his life, and where his literary career began. Working initially as a
minor Grub Street hack writer, he started to write essays for The
Gentleman's Magazine, and authored the Life of Mr Richard Savage—his
first successful literary biography—the powerful poem London, an
18th-century version of Juvenal's Third Satire, and the unsuccessful
tragic drama Irene, not produced until 1749.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Following the assassination of Roman Emperor Domitian, the Roman Senate
appointed Nerva , the first of the Five Good Emperors, to succeed him.
Constantine the Great decisively defeated Licinius in the Battle of
Chrysopolis, establishing Constantine's sole control over the Roman
Empire, and ultimately leading to the conversion of the whole empire to
The second theatre of the Royal Opera House in London opened after a
fire destroyed the original theatre one year earlier.
The Mukden Incident: A section of the Japanese-built South Manchuria
Railway was destroyed, providing an excuse for the Japanese to blame
the act on Chinese dissidents, and thus giving a pretext for the
Japanese occupation of Manchuria.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a
non-profit organization that manages the assignment of domain names and
IP addresses in the Internet, was established.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. To encourage or induce people to join a religious movement,
political party or other cause or organization.
2. To convert (someone) to one’s own faith or beliefs
Wikiquote quote of the day:
A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but one is
but an insect, and the other is a horse still.
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