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Johnson, Samuel

Born: 1709 AD
Died: 1784 AD

1709 – He was born on the 18th day of September this year in Market Square Lichfield, England.


1728 – A few weeks after he turned nineteen, he entered Pembroke College, Oxford, as a fellow-commoner. After thirteen months, however, poverty forced him to leave Oxford without taking a degree and he returned to Lichfield.


1734 – At age twenty-five, he married Elizabeth "Tetty" Porter, a widow twenty-one years his elder.


1735 – His first work published in this year, it was a translation from the French of Lobo’s Voyage to Abyssinia.


1736 – He established a private academy at Edial, near Lichfield. He had only three pupils, but one of them was David Garrick, who remained his friend, while becoming the most famous actor of his day.


1737 – He left for London with his former pupil David Garrick. There he found employment with Edward Cave, writing for The Gentleman’s Magazine.


1745 – Between this year and 1755, he wrote perhaps his best-known work, A Dictionary of the English Language. The rise in literacy and the declining cost of printing demanded clearer standards in spelling, meaning, and grammar.


1746 – Over breakfast at the Golden Anchor tavern in London, he signed a contract with the booksellers/publishers William Strahn and associates to produce an authoritative dictionary of the English language.


1758 – Johnson began another series, The Idler, in this year. These were shorter and lighter than The Rambler and ran weekly for two years.


1759 – He published his philosophical novella Rasselas, written in one week to pay for his mother’s funeral and settle her debts.


1762 – Johnson was awarded a government pension of three hundred pounds a year.


1764 – Oxford University awarded him an honorary doctorate.


1765 – He received an honorary doctorate from Trinity College, Dublin in this year.


1770 – He produced The False Alarm, a political pamphlet attacking John Wilkes. In 1771, his Thoughts on the Late Transactions Respecting Falkland’s Islands appeared, cautioning against war with Spain


1773 – Eleven years after Johnson had met Boswell, the two of them set out on A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, the title Johnson used for his account of their travels published in 1775.


1775 – He wrote “Taxation No Tyranny”, made the case against American colonists, and then clamouring loudly for independence.


1784 – He passed away on the 13th day of December this year in London, England. He was buried at Westminster Abbey.