Johnson and Time

Smallwood, P. (2012) Johnson and Time. In: Samuel Johnson: The Arc of the Pendulum. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191745003 (ISBN); 9780199654345 (ISBN)

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This chapter explores Johnson's complex, moving, and often grief-inducing relationship to the concept and passage of time. How time is connected to mind is a constant source of imagery and analogy in Johnson's writings, and his comments on all manner of things, persons, and poets are haunted by a sense of the temporal. As illustrated by reference, variously, to Kant, Heidegger, and Bergson, the chapter suggests that Johnson's philosophical grasp of the problem of time is more telling than has generally been recognized. It is, however, essentially as a critic and as an artist that Johnson apprehends time and communicates its perpetual elusiveness and difficulty of definition. By this means he repairs the experience of time that philosophy dissects; it is the durable power of Shakespearean drama that in particular suggests to Johnson the time-compressing experience of literary pleasure when placed against the tediousness that could weigh down life and poetry alike. © Oxford University Press 2012. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Book Section
Identification Number:
15 November 2012Published
Uncontrolled Keywords: Death, Flux, Mind, Philosophy, Poetry, Samuel Johnson, Shakespeare, Space, Time, Unity
Subjects: CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-01 - English studies > CAH19-01-01 - English studies (non-specific)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Media and English > School of English
Depositing User: Hussen Farooq
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2017 14:35
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 16:26

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