One of the reasons why Samuel Johnson achieved his monumentality in literary history is that he was a comprehensive thinker whose treatment of social, political, and literary domains encompassed a wide range of concerns and was aimed at the entire reading public of his time. This paper contextualizes Johnson within Augustanism as a defining framework of the age in which he lived and a movement of which he was a leading figure. Such contextualizing complicates our understanding of Johnson when we discover that there are inconsistencies in his relation to and application of Augustan principles. Investigating Johnson’s social, political, and literary views, we see that on the one hand, there is the image of Johnson the follower and advocate of Augustanism as defined through classical aesthetics and conservatism of thought. One [sic] the other hand, there is the image of the liberal Johnson who writes employing a progressive philosophy that does not entirely belong to the Augustan Age.
A Thesis submitted to the Faculty of
the English and Communication Department
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree Masters of Art in English and Communication, December 2009.