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Thesis (M.A.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1933. Department of English.


Copyright 1933, the author. Used by permission.


From the comments of Dr. Samuel Johnson recorded in the critical passages of The Lives of the English Poets and elsewhere it is possible to infer what his ideal of poetry is. Certain ideas that go to make up this ideal occur frequently in other eighteenth-century writings as well as in the works of Dr. Johnson. Since an understanding of these general ideas helps one to appreciate more fully the literature in which they occur, it seems worth while to bring some of them together. One key to Johnson’s ideal of poetry is found in his use of the word “nature”. The term occurs very frequently and it seems to have at least four different meanings.