Major British Authors:
Johnson and Boswell
English 479:02, Autumn 2005
Go directly to:
Office: (973) 353-5279 x 516; 516 Hill Hall.
Hours: Monday and Wednesday, 10:30-11:30, and by
appointment (appointments are best).
Home: (609) 882-4642 (before 10:00 p.m.!).
E-mail: jlynch @
andromeda.rutgers.edu (the best way to reach me).
Listserv: johnson-boswell @
andromeda.rutgers.edu (for the whole class).
- Written Assignments: There will be two papers,
the first of around 1,500 words (six pages), the second of 2,000
(eight pages). There will also be several shorter exercises
(we'll discuss these in class).
- Final Exam: A short final examination will include
identification of quotations, close reading, and short essays.
- Attendance: Almost any excuse, given in
advance (in person, by phone, or by E-mail), will receive my
blessing. Absences not excused in advance will be frowned upon,
and your final grade will be lowered by half a grade for each
unexcused absence. The same policy applies to late papers: I'll
grant extensions, but only if you talk to me before the
- Computing: Some essential information will be
available only electronically. All students therefore
must have an E-mail account by the end of the first
week of classes, and must be able to use the World
- Plagiarism: It should go without saying, but
all work in this class must be your own. Handing in
someone else's work as your own will result in an F for the
course with no second chance, and may result in disciplinary
action. I encourage you to use outside sources, but you
have to cite anything you didn't write yourself. If you have even
an inkling of a doubt about what's legitimate or how to cite
something, see me before handing in the paper.
- Readings: The following books are available from New
Jersey Books (not the Rutgers Bookstore):
As always, I've worked hard to find the cheapest reliable
editions in print. I give the approximate list prices; secondhand
copies and discount vendors should let you cut your expenses
substantially. Many readings will also be available on-line; a
few will be available only on-line.
- James Boswell, Boswell's London Journal, Yale,
ISBN: 0300093012. $18.
- James Boswell, The Life of Johnson, ed. Chapman,
Oxford, ISBN: 0192835319. $19.
- Samuel Johnson, The Major Works, ed. Greene,
Oxford, ISBN: 0192840428. $16.
Schedule of Class Meetings
- Wed., 7 Sept.
- No Class: I'll be at a conference in
- Mon., 12 Sept.
- Introduction (class business, &c.).
- Wed., 14 Sept.
- Johnson, Annals and diaries (pp. 771-80), Rambler
60 (pp. 204-7); Boswell, The Life of Johnson,
- Mon., 19 Sept.
- Boswell, London Journal, pp. 39-140.
- Wed., 21 Sept.
- Boswell, London Journal, pp. 140-235, and
Life, pp. 271-94; Frances Burney, selection from the
- Mon., 26 Sept.
- Johnson, London
(pp. 2-8); Boswell, Life, pp. 295-337
- Wed., 28 Sept.
- Johnson, The
Life of Savage (pp. 128-64); Boswell,
Life, pp. 827-35.
- Mon., 3 Oct.
- Johnson, Rambler 114 (pp. 211-15),
Idler 22 (the renumbered no. 22, pp. 285-87),
selections from the Vinerian lectures (pp. 570-79); Boswell,
Life, pp. 1207-17.
- Wed., 5 Oct.
- Johnson, Idlers 10 and 81 (pp. 279-82, 296-98),
Debates in the Senate of Lilliput (pp. 103-12);
Boswell, Life, pp. 615-16, 764-69.
- Mon., 10 Oct.
- Johnson, "Observations
on the Present State of Affairs" (pp. 501-8), The
Patriot (pp. 580-87); Boswell, Life, pp.
- Wed., 12 Oct.
- Johnson, preface to Lobo (pp. 41-43), review of Hanway (pp.
- Mon., 17 Oct.
- Johnson, selections from A Journey to the Western
Islands of Scotland (pp. 593-641).
- Wed., 19 Oct.
- Johnson, Ramblers 18, 39, 113, 167, 170, 171,
191 (pp. 179-83, 197-200, 207-11, 241-46, 249-52, 253-57),
Idlers 5 and 100 (pp. 277-79, 302-4); Boswell,
Life, pp. 327, 719-20, 944-45.
- Mon., 24 Oct.
- Johnson, letters to Hester Thrale (pp. 790-92); Boswell,
Life, pp. 347-50, 1190-95, 1326-33.
- Wed., 26 Oct.
- Boswell, London Journal, pp. 235-333.
First Paper Due.
- Mon., 31 Oct.
- Johnson, Rambler 168 (pp. 246-49); Boswell,
Life, pp. 131-216.
- Wed., 2 Nov.
- Johnson, selections from the Dictionary (pp.
307-34), "Gnothi Seauton (Know Thyself)" (pp.
- Mon., 7 Nov.
- Johnson, Ramblers 121 and 156 (pp. 215-18,
235-38), Idlers 60 and 61 (pp. 290-96), "Of the Duty
of a Journalist" (pp. 544-46). Exercise Due:
Look up ten resonant words from Johnson's or Boswell's writings
in Johnson's Dictionary
and report, in two or three pages, on what you find.
- Wed., 9 Nov.
- Johnson, "Drury-Lane Prologue" (pp. 10-12),
Ramblers 4, 36, 37 (pp. 175-79, 190-97), selections
from Shakespeare (pp. 419-66).
- Mon., 14 Nov.
- Johnson, selections from Lives of the Poets:
Cowley (pp. 677-97), Milton (pp. 698-716), Dryden (pp. 717-24),
Pope (pp. 725-52), and Gray (pp. 765-69).
- Wed., 16 Nov.
- Boswell, Life, pp. 47-52, 280-81, 316, 690,
790-92, 856-57, 1225-26.
- Mon., 21 Nov.
- Johnson, "Epitaph on Claudy Phillips" (p. 9), "On the Death
of Robert Levet" (pp. 35-36); Boswell, Life, pp.
- Wed., 23 Nov.
- No Class: Thanksgiving Break.
- Mon., 28 Nov.
- Johnson, Rambler 32 (pp. 186-89), "Essay on
Epitaphs" (pp. 96-102); Boswell, Life, pp.
- Wed., 30 Nov.
- Johnson, Sermon 5 (pp. 467-75); Boswell, Life,
- Mon., 5 Dec.
- Johnson, review of Soame Jenyns (pp. 522-43),
Idler 22 (original no. 22, pp. 282-84).
- Wed., 7 Dec.
- Johnson, The Vanity of Human Wishes (pp.
- Mon., 12 Dec.
- Johnson, Rasselas (pp. 335-418). Final