The Johnson Society of Australia

Celebrating the life and work of the 18th Century writer and lexicographer Samuel Johnson and his circle.

Quote of the month

On Shakespeare

Shakespeare is above all writers, at least above all modern writers, the poet of nature; the poet that holds up to his readers a faithful mirrour of manners and of life.

Samuel Johnson, Preface to Shakespeare

26th Annual Fleeman Lecture 2019

Dr Peter Groves, Senior Lecturer, Monash University

Johnson’s Shakespeare: ‘the poet of nature’

Saturday September 21     3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Kathleen Syme Centre, 252 Faraday Street Carlton
$10 entry. Light Refreshments from 2:45 pm   Reserve a place by Registering below

The ways in which we understand and interpret Shakespeare today owes much to Samuel Johnson’s edition of Shakespeare’s  plays published in 1765.

In his various roles as editor, critic, commentator and theorist of poetics, Samuel Johnson enlarged and transformed the ways in which readers, performers and theatre-goers received (and receive) the dramatic works of Shakespeare.This lecture will explore a number of his seminal contributions to the study and reception of the plays, ranging from the validity of editorial emendation to the way in which audiences understand their relation to the theatrical representation.

The Presenter: Peter Groves, a lifelong Johnson fan, was educated at Exeter and Cambridge and now teaches poetry, Shakespeare and other Renaissance literature as a Senior Lecturer and former colleague of Clive Probyn at Monash University. His most recent article (“What, if anything, is a caesura?”, 2019) touches on Johnson’s ideas about poetic form, and his books include Rhythm and Meaning in Shakespeare: A Guide for Readers and Actors (Melbourne, 2013). He is president of the Melbourne Shakespeare Society, the oldest literary society in Australia, having been in continuous existence since 1884


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