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Author - Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1772.

Author - Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, on the 18th of September 1709. He went to Oxford University for a short while, but his time there was cut short when his money ran out. It was then that his career as a writer began.

Johnson moved to London in 1737 and worked as a journalist before he was commissioned to write his greatest work, Dictionary of the English Language. This took him 8 years to complete and was a great success. Johnson’s financial troubles ended when he was granted a pension by King George III in appreciation of the dictionary. Johnson died on the 13th of December 1784 when he was 75 years old.

Samuel Johnson made major contributions in the fields of poetry, essay writing, morality, literary criticism and lexicography. Test your knowledge of this influential character by playing our quiz.

1.
In 1775 Johnson published his account of a journey he and Boswell had made two years earlier to where?
France
Ireland
Scotland
Wales
It was titled A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland
2.
Who played Johnson on in the Blackadder the Third episode, Ink and Incapability?
Tom Baker
Robbie Coltrane
Billy Connolly
Rik Mayall
Blackadder tries to rewrite Johnson's dictionary in one night, thinking Baldrick has burned the original
3.
What was the title of Johnson's last major work, published in 1781 - Lives of the Most Eminent...?
English Parliamentarians
English Playwrights
English Poets
English Politicians
It is a collection of short biographies of 52 poets, including John Milton, John Dryden, Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift
4.
What was Johnson's father's profession?
Bookbinder
Book illustrator
Bookmaker
Bookseller
The family came from middle-class backgrounds but were not well off
5.
In what year did Johnson publish his Dictionary of the English Language?
1745
1755
1765
1775
Johnson claimed that he could finish the dictionary in three years - in the end it took him nine
6.
What pen name did Johnson use in a series of essays he wrote for the Universal Chronicle between 1758 and 1760?
The Commentator
The Idler
The Inquisitor
The Spectator
Johnson wrote a total of 91 essays as The Idler
7.
What was the title of Johnson's 1770 political pamphlet attacking the English radical, John Wilkes?
The False Alarm
The False Dawn
The False Identity
The False Promise
Wilkes was deemed a radical because he wanted the voters, rather than the House of Commons, to choose their representatives
8.
What was the title of the periodical published by Johnson from 1750 until 1752?
The Rambler
The Rover
The Traveller
The Wanderer
The Rambler was published twice a week and contained articles on such subjects as morality, literature and politics
9.
What was the first name of Johnson's biographer, Boswell?
James
Jeremy
John
Joseph
Boswell published Life of Johnson in 1791
10.
In which English cathedral city was Johnson born in 1709?
Durham
Lichfield
Ripon
Wells
Johnson was born above the shop belonging to his father

 

Author:  Tony Rennick

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