"My other works," Samuel Johnson reputed to have said, "are wine and water; but my Rambler is pure wine." Posterity has come to accept this verdict; yet surprisingly enough, until not the most widely used edition of the Rambler has been wholly unauthoritative one of 1825. In furnishing an accurate, carefully annotated text of the 208 numbers of the Rambler, periodical essays which appeared twice a week between March 20, 1750 and March 14, 1752, the present edition this meets a long-felt need. A perceptive Introduction by W. J. Bate suggestively probes the moral vision that pervades most of the essays; and since the Rambler is by far the most heavily revised of Johnson's writings, the many thousands of variant readings provide a rare and fascinating glimpse of Johnson at the task of polishing his style. Here, then, for the first time meticulously edited, is the quintessential Samuel Johnson.Mr. Bate is Lowell Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University and editor of Selected Essays from the "Rambler," "Adventurer," and "Idler" (1968). Mr. Strauss is associate professor of English at the University of North Carolina.
This selection of the cream of the writing from Volumes II-V of the Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson fills the largest remaining gap in easily available eighteenth-century texts for the student and general reader. The edition provides in popular form the amplest selection available of Johnson's essays, ranging from his great moral pieces to the valuable essays on literary criticism. The text is that of the authoritative Yale Edition and includes full annotation. An Introduction by W.J. Bate provides a concise summary of the publication history of the essays and probes in detail the moral vision that pervades most of them.show more