Well before publishing the Lives of the Poets, Samuel Johnson was an accomplished biographer, having written the lives of numerous scholars, scientists, philosophers, critics, and theologians (including Peter Burnham, Sir Thomas Browne, and Confucius) as well as select military and political men (such as Sir Francis Drake, Admiral Blake, and Frederick the Great). This volume contains these earlier biographies as well as epitaphs and obituaries for ordinary individuals with whom Johnson shared a personal connection. This collection of life writing displays Johnson performing in his favorite literary genre in the many years before he wrote his celebrated Lives of the Poets.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was a poet, essayist, biographer, and editor. O M Brack, Jr. (1938-2012), was emeritus professor in the Department of English at Arizona State University. Robert DeMaria, Jr., is the Henry Noble MacCracken Professor of English at Vassar College.