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Approaches to Teaching the Works of Samuel Johnson

Editor(s): David R. Anderson, Gwin J. Kolb

Pages: xi & 152 pp.
Published: 1993
ISBN: 9780873527224 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780873527217 (hardcover)

The works of Samuel Johnson--in particular, the famous Dictionary and the Lives of the Poets--have long held a central place in the English curriculum. This volume from the MLA derives its rationale from a different source, however: reports from experienced teachers of Johnson that students truly enjoy reading him. Johnson's writings can speak directly to students' concerns about identity and vocation, the role of authority, the relations between the sexes, and the challenge of trying to live according to one's own ideas. Approaches to Teaching the Works of Samuel Johnson shows the ways successful teachers have used these topics to enliven classroom discussion.

Like other books in the MLA's Approaches to Teaching World Literature series, this one is divided into two parts. The first part, "Materials," weighs the merits of various anthologies of Johnson's works and evaluates the relevant scholarly and critical resources. In the second part, "Approaches," sixteen contributors offer thematic teaching strategies for use in courses ranging from composition to women's studies; explore methods of teaching Johnson's works to nonmajors, particularly in survey courses of British literature or Western civilization; and focus on teaching specific works, both the familiar ones and those that are less well known, including Johnson's letters, the Soame Jenyns review, and A Journey to the Western Islands.

Table of Contents

Approaches to Teaching the Works of Samuel Johnson


Classroom Texts: The Teacher, the Anthology, and the Canon
David R. Anderson

Scholarly and Critical Resources
Gwin J. Kolb

General Studies and Collections of Discrete Essays

Works on Specific Topics

Miscellaneous Publications


Background Studies

Scholarly Editions

Literary Histories


Nonprinted Materials


General Approaches

Samuel Johnson and Gender
Catherine N. Parke

Resisting Authority; or, Johnson and the Wizard of Oz
James G. Basker

On Teaching Johnson and Lockean Empiricism
Timothy Erwin

Style and Values: Imitating Samuel Johnson
William Kupersmith

Reading Johnson Psychoanalytically
Gloria Sybil Gross

Teaching Johnson to Nonmajors

Johnson in the British Literature Survey Course
Raymond-Jean Frontain

Johnson in a Western Civilization Course
Ann Engar

Teaching Specific Works

Samuel Johnson's View of America: A Moral Judgment, Based on Conscience, Not Compromise
Brenda Ameter

Hearing Epistolick Voices: Teaching Johnson's Letters
Bruce Redford

Teaching the Dictionary
Allen Reddick

The Jenyns Review: "Leibnitian Reasoning" on Trial
Thomas F. Bonnell

Teaching A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland
Thomas Jemielity

Johnson and the Limits of Biography: Teaching the Life of Savage
Charles H. Hinnant

Teaching the Lives of the Poets
Lawrence Lipking

Rasselas in an Eighteenth-Century Novels Course
Melvyn New

Teaching Johnson's Critical Writing
Stephen Fix

Works Cited


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