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Samuel Johnson and the Making of Modern England


  • Page extent: 304 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.456 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521045742)

Samuel Johnson, one of the most renowned authors of the eighteenth century, became virtually a symbol of English national identity in the century following his death in 1784. In Samuel Johnson and the Making of Modern England Nicholas Hudson argues that Johnson not only came to personify English cultural identity but did much to shape it. Hudson examines his contribution to the creation of the modern English identity, approaching Johnson's writing and conversation from scarcely explored directions of cultural criticism - class politics, feminism, party politics, the public sphere, nationalism and imperialism. Hudson charts the career of an author who rose from obscurity to fame during precisely the period that England became the dominant ideological force in the Western world. In exploring the relations between Johnson's career and the development of England's modern national identity, Hudson develops provocative arguments concerning both Johnson's literary achievement and the nature of English Nationhood.

• Examines English national identity through the thought and reputation of one of the nation's most renowned authors • Sheds light on the issues of class, feminism, the public sphere, nationalism and imperialism in the eighteenth century • Written in a clear, jargon-free style


Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. From 'rank' to 'class': the changing structures of social hierarchy; 2. Constructing the middle-class woman; 3. From 'broad-bottom' to 'party': the rise of modern English politics; 4. 'The voice of the nation': the evolution of the 'public'; 5. The construction of English nationhood; 6. The material and ideological development of the British Empire; Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography; Index.


'… it is bold, well argued and, above all, modern.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

'The book is beautifully structured and argued, and very clearly written; even undergraduates could follow the accessible line it draws through the difficulties of social definition, party, nationhood and Empire.' British Association for Romantic Studies

'Samuel Johnson and the Making of Modern England is full of large, resonant arguments collectively embracing Johnson's entire career. It represents an intelligent and ambitious rethinking of his continued meaning for England (not Britain).' The Times Literary Supplement

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