About the bibliography

Johnson studies constitute a dynamic academic field, featuring multiple conference panels every year, as well as dedicated conferences. In North America there are not one but two Samuel Johnson Societies, the Samuel Johnson Society of the Central Region and the Samuel Johnson Society of the West. The United Kingdom also boasts two societies, the Johnson Society of London (est. 1928) and the Johnson Society (Lichfield) (est. 1910), and there’s another Johnson Society in Australia. In 2009, the Houghton Library at Harvard and the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA sponsored exhibitions to mark the 300th anniversary of Johnson’s birth.

In 2000, Jack Lynch published A Bibliography of Johnsonian Studies, 1986–1998 (AMS Press), which has 1,184 entries. A recent search of the Modern Language Association (MLA) International Bibliography for ‘Samuel Johnson Dictionary’ since 2000 yields 123 publications. A similar search of JSTOR yields 4,633 publications—more than would be useful to provide here. Thus, this bibliography offers only a snapshot of Johnson-related scholarship published after Lynch’s Bibliography.

Part 1 lists well-regarded books about Johnson and his Dictionary that are written for a popular audience. Part 2 lists significant scholarship about Samuel Johnson, published after 2000 when Jack Lynch’s Bibliography appeared, and Part 3 lists selected scholarship about Johnson’s Dictionary (and in some cases, about Johnson’s Dictionary’s influence on Noah Webster) also published after 2000.

Part 1: Selected Books about Samuel Johnson Written for a General Audience

Bundock, Michael. The Fortunes of Francis Barber: The True Story of the Jamaican Slave Who Became Samuel Johnson’s Heir. Yale University Press, 2015. 978-0-300-207101 Go to Book

Crystal, David.A Dictionary of the English Language: An Anthology. Penguin Classics, 2007. Go to Book

Damrosch, Leo. The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age. Yale University Press, 2019. 978-0-300-21790-2.Go to Book

Hitchings, Henry. Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005. 978-0-374-113025 Go to Link

De la Torre, Lillian. Dr. Sam Johnson, Detector. Mysterious Press, 2017. [The first of a series of mystery novels starring a fictionalized Dr. Johnson.] 978-0-333-398821 Go to Book

Lynch, Jack. Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary: Selections from the 1755 Work That Defined the English Language. Levenger Press, 2002. 978-1-929-154104 Go to Book

Lynch, Jack. The Lexicographer’s Dilemma: The Evolution of “Proper” English from Shakespeare to South Park. Walker Books, 2009. 978-0-802-717009 Go to Book

Martin, Peter. Samuel Johnson: A Biography. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008. 978-0-674-031609 Go to Link

Meyers, Jeffrey. Samuel Johnson: The Struggle. Basic Books, 2008. 978-0-465-045716 Go to Book

Morton, Tom. Dr Johnson’s Dictionary of Modern Life. Survey, Definition & justify’d Lampoonery of divers contemporary Phenomena, from Top Gear unto Twitter. Random House UK, 2010. [Humorous modern commentary written in the style of Johnson.] 978-0-224-086684 Go to Link

Nokes, David. Samuel Johnson: A Life. Henry Holt, 2009. 978-0805086515 Go to Book

Part 2: Significant Samuel Johnson Scholarship Published After 2000

Belcher, Wendy Laura. Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson: Ethiopian Thought in the Making of an English Author. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Erskine-Hill, Howard and Jonathan Clark, editors. The Politics of Samuel Johnson. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Hessell, Nikki. Literary Authors, Parliamentary Reporters: Johnson, Coleridge, Hazlitt, Dickens. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012

Hudson, Nicholas. A Political Biography of Samuel Johnson. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2013.

Johnstone, Freya and Lynda Mugglestone, eds. Samuel Johnson: The Arc of the Pendulum. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Lee, Anthony W. Dead Masters: Mentoring and Intertextuality in Samuel Johnson. Bethlehem, PA: Lehigh University Press, 2011.

—, ed. Samuel Johnson Among the Modernists. Clemson, SC: Clemson University Press, 2018.

Lynch, Jack. Samuel Johnson in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

—. The Age of Elizabeth in the Age of Johnson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Martin, Peter. Samuel Johnson: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2008.

McNair, Arnold. Dr. Johnson and the Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Mugglestone, Lynda. Samuel Johnson and the Journey into Words. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Radner, John B. Johnson and Boswell: A Biography of a Friendship. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012.

Rees, Christine. Johnson’s Milton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Ritchie, Stefka. The Reformist Ideas of Samuel Johnson. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars, 2017.

Smallwood, Philip. Critical Occasions: Dryden, Pope, Johnson, and the History of Criticism. New York: AMS, 2011.

Weinbrot, Howard, ed. Samuel Johnson: New Contexts for a New Century. San Marino, CA: Huntington Library Press, 2014.

Wildermuth, Mark E. Print, Chaos, and Complexity: Samuel Johnson and Eighteenth-Century Media Culture. Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 2008.

Part 3: Significant Johnson’s Dictionary Scholarship Published After 2000

Allen, Julia Banham. Samuel Johnson’s Menagerie: The Beastly Lives of Exotic Quadrupeds in the Eighteenth Century. Norwich: Erskine Press, 2002.

Bankert, Dabney A. “Legendary Lexicography: Joseph Bosworth’s Debt to Henry J. Todd’s Edition of Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language.” ‘Cunning Passages, Contrived Corridors’: Unexpected Essays in the History of Lexicography, edited by Michael Adams, 25-55. Monza, Italy: Polimetrica, 2010.

Brewer, Charlotte. “‘A Goose-Quill or a Gander’s? Female Writers in Johnson’s Dictionary.” In Samuel Johnson: The Arc of the Pendulum, edited by Freya Johnstone and Lynda Mudgglestone, 120-139. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Casteel, Sarah Phillips. “David Dabydeen’s Hogarth: Blacks, Jews, and Postcolonial Ekphrasis.” Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry 3, no. 1 (2016): 117-133.

Crystal, David. A Dictionary of the English Language: An Anthology. New York: Penguin Classics, 2007.

DeMaria, Robert, Jr. “Johnson’s Editorial Lexicography.” Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America 35 (2014): 146-161.

Dille, Catherine. “Johnson’s Dictionary in the Nineteenth Century: A Legacy in Transition.” Age of Johnson: A Scholarly Annual 16 (2005): 21-37.

Folkenflik, Robert. “The Politics of Johnson’s Dictionary Revisited.” Age of Johnson: A Scholarly Annual 18 (2007): 1-17.

Gunn, Daniel P. “The Lexicographer’s Task: Language, Reason, and Idealism in Johnson’s Dictionary Preface.” Age of Johnson: A Scholarly Annual 11 (2000): 105-124.

Hailey, R. Carter. “‘This Instance Will Not Do’: George Steevens, Shakespeare, and the Revision(s) of Johnson’s Dictionary.” Studies in Bibliography: Papers of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia 54 (2001): 243-64.

Hudson, Nicholas. “Johnson’s Dictionary and the Politics of ‘Standard English.’” In Ashgate Critical Essays on Early English Lexicographers, Volume 5: The Eighteenth Century, edited by Anne McDermott, 159-175. Farnham, England: Ashgate, 2012.

Iamartino, Giovanni and DeMaria, Robert, Jr. eds. “Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary and the Eighteenth-Century World of Words.” Special issue, Textus: English Studies in Italy 19-1 (2006).

Johnston, Freya. “Accumulation in Johnson’s Dictionary.” Essays in Criticism: A Quarterly Journal of Literary Criticism 57- 4 (2007): 301-324.

Kendall, Joshua. The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster’s Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture. New York: GP Putnam’s Sons, 2010. [addresses Johnson’s influence]

Lynch, Jack and Anne McDermott, eds. Anniversary Essays on Johnson’s Dictionary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Lynch, Jack. Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary: Selections from the 1755 Work that Defined the English Language. Delray Beach, FL: Levenger Press, 2002.

Lynch, Jack. “Studies of Johnson’s Dictionary, 1955-2009: A Bibliography.” Harvard Library Bulletin 20-3-4 (2009): 88-131.

McDermott, Anne C. “The Compilation Methods of Johnson’s Dictionary.” In Ashgate Critical Essays on Early English Lexicographers, Volume 5: The Eighteenth Century, edited by Anne McDermott, 105-124. Farnham, England: Ashgate, 2012.

Mayhew, Robert J. Landscape, Literature, and English Religious Culture, 1660-1800: Samuel Johnson and Languages of Natural Description. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Micklethwait, David. Noah Webster and the American Dictionary. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2000. [addresses Johnson’s influence]

Mugglestone, Lynda. “The Battle of the Word-Books: Competition, the ‘Common-Reader,’ and Johnson’s Dictionary.” In Samuel Johnson: The Arc of the Pendulum, edited by Freya Johnstone and Lynda Mugglestone, 140-153. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Pearce, Chris P. “‘Gleaned as Industry Should Find, or Chance Should Offer It’: Johnson’s Dictionary after 250 Years.” Age of Johnson: A Scholarly Annual 17 (2006): 341-62.

Reddick, Allen. “Past and Present in Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language.” International Journal of Lexicography 23, no. 2 (2010): 207-222.

—. “Vindicating Milton: Poetic Misprision in Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language.” Harvard Library Bulletin 20, no. 3-4 (2009): 62-71.

Rivero, Albert J. “Celebrating Johnson’s Dictionary.” The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 49, no. 3 (2008): 265-272.

Romary, Laurent and Werner Wegstein. “Consistent Modelling of Heterogeneous Lexical Structures.” Journal of the Text Encoding Initiative, TEI Consortium (2012): 1-28.

Scanlan, J. T. “Johnson’s Dictionary and Legal Dictionaries.” In Ashgate Critical Essays on Early English Lexicographers, Volume 5: The Eighteenth Century, edited by Anne McDermott, 139-158. Farnham, England: Ashgate, 2012.

Schreyer, Rüdiger. “Illustrations of Authority: Quotations in Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (1755).” Lexicographica: International Annual for Lexicography 16 (2000): 58-103.

Sudan, Rajani. “Chilling Allahabad: Climate Control and the Production of Anglicized Weather in Early Modern India.” Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 8-2 (2008): 56-73.

Tankard, Paul. “Contexts for Johnson’s Dictionary.” Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture 35- 2 (2002): 253-282.

Taylor, T. M. “On Definition and Explanation in the Preface to Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language.” Modern Language Review 11-2 (2016): 311-332.

Visan, Ruxandra. “Johnson’s Dictionary, Conversation, Recontextualisation and Organisation.” Romanian Journal of English Studies 5 (2008): 240-248.

Wild, Kate. “Ludicrous Exaggerations and Colloquial Licenses: ‘Prescriptive’ Labels in Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language.” ‘Cunning Passages, Contrived Corridors’: Unexpected Essays in the History of Lexicography, edited by Michael Adams, 165-185. Monza, Italy: Polimetrica, 2010.

—. “Vulgar and Popular in Johnson, Webster and the OED.” In Proceedings of the XIII Euralex International Congress, edited by Elisenda Bernal and Janet DeCesaris, 1209-1214. Barcelona: Documenta Univeritaria, 2008.