Sam Johnson

26Jan11

I have recently been in touch with Samuel Johnson who imparted to me the following wisdom:

1. Those writers who lay on the watch for novelty could have litle hope for greatness for great things could not have escaped former observation. 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.

2. Sam further discussed whether drinking improves conversation and benevolence.  Sir Joshua (Reynolds) maintained it did. Johnson replied: “No, Sir, before dinner men  meet with great inequality of understanding, and those that are conscious of their inferiority, have the modesty not to talk. When they drink wine, every man feels himself happy and loses that modesty and grows impudent and vociferous, but he is not improved, only sensible of his defects.

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