The latest news from the JSA

Mystery of Johnson’s Summer House

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  • Post published:November 27, 2005
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When I was in London in 1984, I spotted the “Johnson Summer House” in the garden of Kenwood House on the edge of Hampstead Heath. It had been a favourite…

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Fleeman Lecture illuminated by Beckett reading

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  • Post published:November 27, 2005
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A fascinating account of the influence of Samuel Johnson on the great Irish playwright Samuel Beckett captured an attentive audience for the 2005 Fleeman Lecture on September 17, delivered by Professor Chris Ackerley, of the University of Otago, New Zealand.

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“Inviting package” on the Dictionary

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  • Post published:August 7, 2005
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Henry Hitchings,  Dr Johnson’s Dictionary; The Extraordinary Story of the Book that Defined the World London: John Murray, 2005, 278 pp., $44.95, ISBN 0 7195 6631 2

One of the most attractive commemorations of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language is this book, a scholarly study of the Dictionary brilliantly packaged as an inviting volume for casual reading. Organised as a series of little essays, each headed by a word and a definition from the Dictionary, it takes you through Johnson’s life at the same time as it takes you through the alphabet.

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Obituary: Harold Attwood (1928-2005)

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  • Post published:August 7, 2005
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A tribute on behalf of the JSA

by Bronwen Hickman

Members were saddened to hear of the death on June 8 of Harold Attwood, a long-time member of the Johnson Society of Australia. Harold was a gentle, softly-spoken Scot, an eminent medical man with a love of literature. As custodian of the Medical History Museum at Melbourne University, he gave a lecture to the Society ten years ago on Johnson’s lung, explaining why the medical textbook illustration long thought to have been Johnson’s lung could not have been so, and why!

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2005 Seminar voted an outstanding success

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  • Post published:August 7, 2005
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The JSA well and truly celebrated the 250th anniversary of Johnson’s Dictionary at the Annual Seminar and Dinner on May 28.

Nick Hudson raised some interesting questions about the payment Johnson received from his bookseller publishers, and concluded that by modern monetary standards, he was well rewarded, but his personal “take” was considerable reduced by his suppor tfor the numerous dependants who lived with him at Gough Square and for his impoverished amanuenses.

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A Johnsonian Carol

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  • Post published:March 28, 2005
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For the JSA’s 2004 Christmas party, member Robert Kemp composed a very clever Johnsonian pastiche of Good King Wenceslas after the style of Dr Johnson, which he also incorporated into his Christmas card. Robert, who is a professional actor, gave a splendid recitation of the piece:

Warm dressed, well fed, King Wenceslas looked out                
On Stephen’s feast, when snow lay round about.
Inside, a life of ease; without, one cruel
Where exigents spend hours in search of fuel.             
Thin shepherds sit and watch their ovine flock            
As glory shines, their desp’rate state to mock.
Are all in David’s city worth their hire?
Should angels sing of man or the Messiah?
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Scholarly and entertaining discourse on the capital

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  • Post published:March 28, 2005
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A scholarly but highly entertaining discourse, tracing the changes in spelling and typographical conventions in the 18th century was given on Saturday, September 4, after the Annual General Meeting, by Professor Richard Wendorf, Director and Librarian at the Boston Athenaeum, one of the oldest and most distinguished libraries in the United States.

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New JSA web site

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  • Post published:August 15, 2004
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The Johnson Society of Australia’s re-designed and updated web site was developed by JSA member Sam Reid, is user-friendly, easily navigated, and developed with a ‘content management system’ so that material can be edited, stored and displayed by non-technical people, which allows for timely updates.

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Putting the Life on line: The Yale editions on the World Wide Web

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  • Post published:August 15, 2004
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Our patron, Gordon Turnbull, General Editor of the Yale Boswell Editions, sends us from New Haven, Connecticut some of the latest news on the great collection, much of which is now being scanned and some of which is already available on line on the internet:

Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which houses the vast Boswell Collection, has embarked on a series of scans of selected Boswellian materials, and some of these treasures are now available online.

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