Welcome to the Johnson Society of Australia
A Johnsonian nightmare Print E-mail
Written by Bronwen Hickman   
Monday, 13 September 2010 20:20

At the Johnson seminar on July 24, I read people a picture of Johnson through the eyes of Fanny Burney. She noted his likes and dislikes; how he despised the Whigs and their policies, how loyal he was to Oxford University and how derisive of Cambridge men; his poor opinion of the Scots, and so on. So you can imagine how much I enjoyed the anecdote I found in Simon Winchester’s book The Meaning of Everything which I have just finished reading.

The book tells the story of the publication of the huge Oxford English Dictionary, and the years of  labour by James Murray and his team to bring it into existence.  A skilled amateur philologist, Murray was the son of a linen draper, a lowland Scot and a Calvinist.  He claimed to have had a dream that illustrated Samuel Johnson’s likely reaction to Murray's appointment in 1879 as the editor of the Dictionary.

THE WESTERN IDLER - Treasures from Melbourne Print E-mail
Written by The Western Idler   
Monday, 13 September 2010 20:18

It was a great pleasure to see so many of you at the Annual Seminar in July.  I thought that the new format worked very well.  Many new faces were to be seen, including some younger people.  After such a momentous year, as was the 300th anniversary in 2009, I believe that we all need to make an extra effort to ensure that the enthusiasm generated over that 12 months is continued into the future.  Hopefully, by the time the next seminar rolls around, Elizabeth and I will be living in Victoria.  I hope to take a much more active part in the Society when we complete our move.

JSA 2010 seminar to be held on July 24 Print E-mail
Written by Bryan Reid   
Tuesday, 16 March 2010 20:41

There will be some departures from the usual format for the JSA’s 2010 seminar on Saturday, July 24 with a more varied and entertaining program.

In addition to three main papers by Prof Wallace Kirsop, Nick Hudson and Paul Tankard, Prof Kate Burridge will present a “stub” paper – a short discussion of a subject from her speciality, linguistics.

These will be followed by readings on various Johnsonian subjects by Barrie Sheppard, Bronwen Hickman and John Byrne. The will also be music, with a brief commentary supplied by Barbara Niven.

The seminar will be held at the usual venue, the English Speaking Union at 146 West Toorak Road South Yarra, starting at 11am, and finishing around 4.30 pm, with the bar open until 6pm to allow for some convivial fraternization.  A light lunch will be served and morning and afternoon tea provided.

Full details of speakers and subjects will becirculated to members before the seminar.

ABC Radio interview about JSA Print E-mail
Written by Bryan Reid   
Sunday, 05 September 2010 01:34

JSA committee member Bryan Reid was interviewed by ABC Radio National on the history and aims of the JSA. Follow this link to hear the broadcast on the Lingua Franca session, presented by Maria Zijlstra on August 28 2010.

Barrie Sheppard our new President Print E-mail
Written by Bryan Reid   
Tuesday, 16 March 2010 19:44

Barrie Sheppard, the newly -elected President of the Johnson Society of Australia, has been one of our most active members since he joined the JSA in 1994. He has been a committee member since 1999, and Treasurer since 2005, a position he still retains in addition to the presidency.

Barrie, a former lecturer in English at Deakin University, previously had no special interest in Samuel Johnson, but a chance meeting with Bryan Reid, and his existing friendships with the late Rusi Khan and Clive and Meg Probyn, attracted him to the idea of joining the JSA.

He soon became a confirmed Johnsonian, and in 1996 gave his first seminar paper, a satirical treatment of Johnson’s view about the proper use of the cucumber, and several subsequent papers, the latest was on Johnson and the Problem of Evil.

Barrie’s Johnsonian interest extended overseas in 2007 when he attended the Pembroke College Conference on Johnson and the Theatre, and again this year, when he took part in the Tercentenary celebrations at both Pembroke and Lichfield.

Barrie’s expressed hopes as President are to continue the good work of previous presidents, to forge links with the Jane Austen and Shakespeare Societies , and to develop the Annual Seminar to include regular readings, short 'stub' papers, and a short lexicographical 'spotlight', as well as the usual solid academic fare.

Barrie is also half of the celebrated duo, with Bryan Reid, of “Baz and Bry” who by popular demand entertain the guests at the JSA Christmas party.

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