Samuel Johnson's "general Nature": Tradition and Transition in Eighteenth-century Discourse

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University of Delaware Press, 1999 - 168 pages
This study illuminates the importance and meaning of the term author in eighteenth-century discourse from the perspective of its prominent usage by Samuel Johnson. It explains Johnson's employment of nature in his periodical essays, his qualified endorsement of the new science, and his commendation of Shakespeare's drama and other literary works on the basis of their just representation of general nature.

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Classical Nature
Medieval Nature
Nature in EighteenthCentury Discourse
Nature and Value in the Rambler Idler and Adventurer
Johnson on the Experimental Philosophy
Representation Imagination and Nature in Johnsons Literary Criticism
Johnson and EighteenthCentury Reductionism
Selected Bibliography

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Page 82 - All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee; All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see; All Discord, Harmony not understood; All partial Evil, universal Good : And, in spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite, One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.
Page 117 - Their attempts were always analytic; they broke every image into fragments: and could no more represent, by their slender conceits and laboured particularities, the prospects of nature or the scenes of life, than he who dissects a sunbeam with a prism can exhibit the wide effulgence of a summer noon.
Page 67 - A perfect judge will read each work of wit With the same spirit that its author writ : Survey the whole, nor seek slight faults to find Where Nature moves, and rapture warms the mind ; Nor lose, for that malignant dull delight, The gen'rous pleasure to be charm'd with wit.
Page 104 - That not to know at large of things remote From use, obscure and subtle, but to know That which before us lies in daily life, Is the prime wisdom...
Page 132 - ... things that are immediately perceived by sense, call them what you will: but they do not inform us that things exist without the mind, or unperceived, like to those which are perceived. This the materialists themselves acknowledge. It remains therefore that if we have any knowledge at all of external things, it must be by reason, inferring their existence from what is immediately perceived by sense.
Page 52 - The general and perpetual voice of men is as the sentence of God himself. For that which all men have at all times learned, Nature herself must needs have taught; and God being the author of Nature, her voice is but his instrument.
Page 62 - SINCE the mind, in all its thoughts and reasonings, hath no other immediate object but its own ideas, which it alone does or can contemplate ; it is evident, that our knowledge is only conversant about them.
Page 66 - First follow Nature, and your judgment frame By her just standard, which is still the same: Unerring Nature! still divinely bright, One clear...

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