Preface to Shakespeare Questions and Answers
by Samuel Johnson

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Why is Johnson's "Preface to Shakespeare" a landmark in Shakespearian criticism?

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Johnson's "Preface to Shakespeare" is a landmark in Shakespearean criticism for a number of reasons. First, it is a balanced critique of Shakespeare, giving him credit for his powerful and lyrical use of the English language, praising his examination of fundamental and timeless human emotions, and admiring his iconoclastic departure from convention even as it took issue with his use of plot structure, anachronisms, and vulgar double entendres and puns.

Second, Johnson's focus on character development as a major aspect of Shakespeare's...

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