Evaluate some of johnson's central critical principles in "preface to Shakespeare"?plz answer in detail

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dukesnyder1027 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Preface to Shakespeare is an enlightening essay about drama, human nature, common sense, and literary precepts.

The principles of the Preface are:

Shakespeare is the foremost of English writers.

Shakespeare’s characters are universal.

Shakespeare’s work transcends genre.

Shakespeare’s plays follow miscuit utile dulce

Shakespeare polished a crude form.  “He found the English stage in a state of the utmost rudeness.”

Johnson’s Preface echoes neo-classical sentiments, especially in his application of mimetic values, and in his axiom that “nothing can please many, and please long, but just representations of human nature.”  Johnson also states that “it is always a writer’s duty to make the world better, and justice is a virtue independent on time or place.”  The Preface is a great example of ways in which a critic can bring an old author into contemporary relevance.

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