Welcome to the Johnson Society of Australia
New work by John Wiltshire launched Print E-mail
Written by Bryan Reid   
Monday, 21 September 2009 23:56

The Making of Dr Johnson, the latest book by JSA President John Wiltshire, officially launched by John Byrne at the 2009 seminar, traces the development of the public image of Samuel Johnson since the publication of Boswell’s Life.

The book shows there was much more to Johnson than is revealed by Boswell, who simply did not know much about important stages of Johnson’s life, and who also tended to gloss over, or hide, some aspects which did not accord with his virtual canonisation of  his subject.

John Wiltshire draws proper attention to other 18th Century biographies and memoirs of Johnson, notably those of Sir John Hawkins and Mrs Thrale, which draw a much different picture of Johnson’s character and behaviour.  In addition, due weight is given to contemporary criticism of his work, his literary style, and his aggressive argumentation.

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The Tercentenary Seminar Print E-mail
Written by Bryan Reid   
Monday, 21 September 2009 23:54

An appreciative audience enjoyed the new program format for the Johnson Tercentenary Seminar and Dinner on July 25.

A reading by Bronwen Hickman from Fanny Burney’s diaries separated two excellent papers by Barrie Sheppard and Geoff Brand, which provided different, but resonating, insights into 18th Century concepts of nature, the problem of evil, based on Soames Jenyns’ letters on the Origin of Evil, and the idea of nature’s productions forming a “Great Chain of Being”.

John Wiltshire’s paper, The Afterlife of Dr Johnson, was a fitting prelude to John Byrne’s official launching of our President’s  latest work, The Making of Dr Johnson.

 
Convivial JSA dinner marks Tercentenary Print E-mail
Written by Bryan Reid   
Tuesday, 30 June 2009 05:29

The JSA celebrated the Johnson Tercentenary in typically convivial fashion at a dinner on Friday, May 15, at the Montague Hotel in South Melbourne, where President John Wiltshire welcomed 19 guests.

Before, during and after the dinner, a number of celebrated eminences on the Johnsonian landscape were honoured by readings from The Life and other sources. John Wiltshire read the letter to Chesterfield, surely one of literary history’s greatest “come-uppances”, Barrie Sheppard entertained us with a reading of Soames Jenyns verse epitaph written at the death of Johnson; and Boswell's reply, Bronwen Hickman chose extracts from Fanny Burney’s diaries recording the acrimonious and one-sided argument by Johnson with Mr Pepys, while Bryan Reid read Boswell’s description of his meeting with Johnson in Tom Davies’ parlour.

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The 'Western Idler' interviewed on ABC's 'Collectors' Print E-mail
Written by Bryan Reid   
Saturday, 11 July 2009 22:13
John Byrne, the "Western Idler" of our newsletter The Southern Johnsonian, and a foundation member of the JSA, appreared in a segment of the ABC series "Collectors" on Friday July 10, displaying his large and comprehensive collection of works by Johnson and his circle. Click on this link to see a copy of the segment.
 
JSA web site has moved to a new home Print E-mail
Written by Sam Reid   
Monday, 29 June 2009 09:30

After a number of extended outages this year the JSA web site has now been moved to a much more reliable hosting service.

The JSA has maintained an online presence for more than 11 years, originally as part of Bryan Reid's personal Ozemail webspace (where the newsletter archives are still located), then hosted for free on the web servers of a number of generous organisations including Australian web analytics software company Aimstats.

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