Tuesday, June 09, 2009


C.S. Lewis on Samuel Johnson

C.S. Lewis, letter to Arthur Greeves (June 22, 1930):
I am delighted to hear that you have taken to Johnson. Yes, isn't it a magnificent style — the very essence of manliness and condensation. I find Johnson very bracing when I am in my slack, self-pitying mood. The amazing thing is his power of stating platitudes — or what in anyone else wd. be platitudes — so that we really believe them at last and realise their importance. Doesn't it remind you a bit of Handel? As to his critical judgment I think he is always sensible and nearly always wrong. He has no ear for metre and little imagination. I personally get more pleasure from the Rambler than from anything else of his & at one time I used to read a Rambler every evening as a nightcap. They are so quieting in their brave, sensible dignity.

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