Beryl Bainbridge in The Guardian:
In 1746, some months after his 36th birthday, Samuel Johnson, that great literary figure of the 18th century, affectionately referred to as the Good Doctor, began work on his monumental Dictionary of the English Language . It took him nine years. April 15 marks the 250th anniversary of its publication.
Johnson was already an established man of letters, famous for his epitaphs, his parliamentary debates, his translations of the Odes of his favourite poet, Horace, numerous essays written for the Gentleman’s Magazine and for his epic poem, “The Vanity of Human Wishes”. His contemporaries were the giants of the age, Joshua Reynolds, Oliver Goldsmith, Edward Gibbon, Edmund Burke, David Garrick, yet it is his name that resounds the loudest in the 21st century.
Read more here. And see also Azra’s earlier post about SJ here.