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Poetry of Opposition and RevolutionDryden to Wordsworth$
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Howard Erskine-Hill

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198121770

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198121770.001.0001

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The Decision of Samuel Johnson

The Decision of Samuel Johnson

(p.110) (p.111) 4 The Decision of Samuel Johnson
Poetry of Opposition and Revolution

Howard Erskine-Hill

Oxford University Press

Samuel Johnson was born and raised in the established Church of England, in which communion he remained from conviction throughout his life. Nothing in his background of any formal or serious nature could prompt suspicion of political disaffection. Nothing in his early circumstances obliged him to become an opposition writer. Johnson could have written excellent satire dedicated to King George and Walpole. If he sought his readiest way to rise in the world he would have been well advised to do so. Yet Johnson chose the more dangerous course in his first published poem. Different as London is from anything from the pen of Pope, it shares with Pope a recognizable opposition and political standpoint. Johnson springs fully armed upon the stage as warrior of the opposition. London is an eloquent and energetic denunciation of a capital city and land allegedly decadent.

Keywords:   Samuel Johnson, political satire, London, opposition writers, political writers

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