Regularly every Tuesday and Saturday during the years 1750 to 1752 Samuel Johnson published one of the more than two hundred essays that make up the RAMBLER. He records in one of the later papers the difficulties a man with his procrastinating temperament had in meeting a regular deadline like this one, and he indicates that many of his brief moralizing works were hastily composed and sent off to the press unrevised. It is thus especially remarkable that his essays give such a uniformly polished, coherent effect. The style is throughout dignified, and balanced, and the arguments of the moral and philosophical dissertations are inevitably clear and logical.
Johnson departed in the RAMBLER from the typical pattern of the popular eighteenth century periodical essay as it was developed by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele in the TATLER and the SPECTATOR. He considered his role as essayist to be that of teacher, rather than that of entertainer. While he included a number of amusing sketches in his collection, even the most humorous have moral overtones, and the majority of the papers are general comments on human faults and weaknesses. He indicates that some of his readers protested at the prevailing tone of seriousness in his work, but he did not yield to their criticism; it is only in his later groups of essays, the IDLER and the ADVENTURER, that he allowed his mood to mellow and consented to discuss...
(The entire section is 1551 words.)
Show us the love and view this for free! Use the facebook like button, or any other share button on this page, and get this content free!free!
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of The Rambler Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!