This volume collects the most important statements on the English language by Samuel Johnson, one of its greatest expositors and speakers. The book includes scholarly, fully annotated editions of Johnson's main writings on the history, structure, and cultural importance of the English language as well as his reflections on lexicography. These texts represent Johnson's thinking as he undertook and completed the major work of his life, the colossal Dictionary of the English Language.
The editors set Johnson's writings on the English language in historical context and provide the fullest possible account of their composition. Among the works presented in the volume are Johnson's Plan of a Dictionary of the English Language and the Preface to the Dictionary, both of which are counted among his finest works of prose.