Roman History From The Foundation of The City of Rom

Reading experience

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Roman History From The Foundation of The City of Rom

Reading experience
Identifer:
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Evidence

" [Johnson said of Goldsmith] ""Take him as a poet, his "Traveller" is a very fine performance; ay, and so is his "Deserted Village," were it not sometimes too much the echo of his "Traveller." Whether, indeed, we take him as a poet,—as a comick writer,—or as an historian, he stands in the first class."" Boswell. ""An historian! My dear sir, you surely will not rank his compilation of the Roman History with the works of other historians of this age ?"" Johnson. ""Why, who are before him?"" Boswell. ""Hume, —Robertson,—Lord Lyttelton."" Johnson. (His antipathy to the Scotch beginning to rise). ""I have not read Hume; but, doubtless, Goldsmith"s "History" is better than the [italics] verbiage [end italics] of Robertson, or the foppery of Dalrymple."" Boswell. ""Will you not admit the superiority of Robertson, in whose "History" we find such penetration—such painting?"" Johnson. ""Sir, you must consider how that penetration and that painting are employed. It is not history, it is imagination. He who describes what he never saw draws from fancy. Robertson paints minds as Sir Joshua paints faces in a history piece: he imagines an heroick countenance. You must look upon Robertson"s work as romance, and try it by that standard. History it is not. Besides, sir, it is the great excellence of a writer to put into his book as much as his book will hold. Goldsmith has done this in his "History". Now Robertson might have put twice as much into his book. Robertson is like a man who has packed gold in wool: the wool takes up more room than the gold. No, sir; I always thought Robertson would be crushed by his own weight,—would be buried under his own ornaments. Goldsmith tells you shortly all you want to know: Robertson detains you a great deal too long. No man will read Robertson"s cumbrous detail a second time; but Goldsmith"s plain narrative will please again and again. I would say to Robertson what an old tutor of a college said to one of his pupils: "Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out." Goldsmith"s abridgement is better than that of Lucius Florus or Eutropius; and I will venture to say, that if you compare him with Vertot, in the same places of the Roman History, you will find that he excels Vertot."""

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Life of Johnson

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Johnson, Samuel
Born in 1709

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Notes
Originally published 1791.

How to cite this record

You can copy this item for personal use, share it, and post it on a blog or website. It cannot be used commercially without permission. Please ensure the following credit accompanies it:

Life of Johnson
http://eured.univ-lemans.fr/dbworkshop/index.php/Detail/objects/78277
Accessed on 2019/09/20 10:25:37

Related place
England
Related people
Johnson, Samuel
Related text or manuscript
Life of Johnson
Related place
England
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Roman History From The Foundation of The City of Rom

Reading experience
Identifer:
ukred-21182

Evidence

" [Johnson said of Goldsmith] ""Take him as a poet, his "Traveller" is a very fine performance; ay, and so is his "Deserted Village," were it not sometimes too much the echo of his "Traveller." Whether, indeed, we take him as a poet,—as a comick writer,—or as an historian, he stands in the first class."" Boswell. ""An historian! My dear sir, you surely will not rank his compilation of the Roman History with the works of other historians of this age ?"" Johnson. ""Why, who are before him?"" Boswell. ""Hume, —Robertson,—Lord Lyttelton."" Johnson. (His antipathy to the Scotch beginning to rise). ""I have not read Hume; but, doubtless, Goldsmith"s "History" is better than the [italics] verbiage [end italics] of Robertson, or the foppery of Dalrymple."" Boswell. ""Will you not admit the superiority of Robertson, in whose "History" we find such penetration—such painting?"" Johnson. ""Sir, you must consider how that penetration and that painting are employed. It is not history, it is imagination. He who describes what he never saw draws from fancy. Robertson paints minds as Sir Joshua paints faces in a history piece: he imagines an heroick countenance. You must look upon Robertson"s work as romance, and try it by that standard. History it is not. Besides, sir, it is the great excellence of a writer to put into his book as much as his book will hold. Goldsmith has done this in his "History". Now Robertson might have put twice as much into his book. Robertson is like a man who has packed gold in wool: the wool takes up more room than the gold. No, sir; I always thought Robertson would be crushed by his own weight,—would be buried under his own ornaments. Goldsmith tells you shortly all you want to know: Robertson detains you a great deal too long. No man will read Robertson"s cumbrous detail a second time; but Goldsmith"s plain narrative will please again and again. I would say to Robertson what an old tutor of a college said to one of his pupils: "Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out." Goldsmith"s abridgement is better than that of Lucius Florus or Eutropius; and I will venture to say, that if you compare him with Vertot, in the same places of the Roman History, you will find that he excels Vertot."""

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Life of Johnson

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Johnson, Samuel
Born in 1709

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Time of Reading Experience
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England
EuRED : emotions
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EuRED : lighting
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Notes
Originally published 1791.

How to cite this record

You can copy this item for personal use, share it, and post it on a blog or website. It cannot be used commercially without permission. Please ensure the following credit accompanies it:

Life of Johnson
http://eured.univ-lemans.fr/dbworkshop/index.php/Detail/objects/78277
Accessed on 2019/09/20 10:25:37

Related place
England
Related people
Johnson, Samuel
Related text or manuscript
Life of Johnson
Related place
England
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