With this volume, The Age of Johnson: A Scholarly Annual begins its second sequence of ten volumes, much stronger and better established than when it started its first such sequence in 1987. Founding editor Paul J. Korshin is now co-editor, with Jack Lynch of Rutgers University, Newark. As co-editors we continue to seek original approaches to the literature and culture of the Age of Johnson and to welcome contributions on a wide variety of topics.
This year's volume follows a pattern established in the 1990s in that it includes an entire symposium from the 1999 annual meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, devoted to poverty in Johnson's world. We also look back to several controversies that we introduced in our first decennium, first with two essays, by Michael Bundock and Aaron Stavisky, on Johnson's Life of Savage. J. A. Downie's essay, "Johnson's Politics," second, recalls a lengthy controversy on Johnson's politics and his putative Jacobitism, to which we devoted more than a dozen essays and reviews between 1996 and 1999. Volume 11 also includes three strikingly different essays by scholars on different aspects of Johnson's career: Daniel Gunn writing on the "Preface" to Johnson's Dictionary, Sarah Jordan writing on Johnson's treatment of idleness, and Paul Tankard discussing Johnson's reading list for a young clergyman.
Reviewers have tended to overlook collections of scholarly essays, even though the symposium volume has long been an important critical forum. Accordingly, this volume of The Age of Johnson contains our first-ever review article on this extensive output by Peter M. Briggs. Professor Briggs has considered nearly twenty such books, and ultimately focused his review on about half of them. This year's volume also includes essays on Boswell by Richard Sher, on The Vicar of Wakefield by Thomas Preston, on the politics of the Poet Laureateship in 1730 by Daniel Ennis, and a memoir of the late Donald Greene by Jeffrey Meyers. Ten book reviews, several of them as long as typical essays, conclude this year's volume and, typically, the scope of our reviewers is a good deal broader than that of our essayists.
The editors gratefully acknowledge the financial assistance of the Department of English and the School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania.
Paul J. Korshin
31 January 2000