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Word for the Wise September 18, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Words from Samuel Johnson

Today we remember Samuel Johnson, the writer, editor, and lexicographer who was born on this date in 1709.Doctor Johnson's contributions to English literature are great. In addition to his collections of essays titled The Idler and The Rambler, he edited a collection of Shakespeare, wrote the biographical Lives of the Poets, and compiled A Dictionary of the English Language. The impoverished son of a bookseller left our lexicon a wealth of writings. (来源:英语学习门户 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

Some of his better-remembered epigrams include defining oats as a grain which, in England is fed chiefly to horses but in Scotland supports the people; "exercise as labor without weariness"; and "poetry as the art of uniting pleasure with truth."

Samuel Johnson also offered advice to would-be writers: "Read over your compositions, and whenever you meet a passage you think particularly fine," he said, "strike it out." That writer's musing on marketing was similarly to the point. "Promise, large promise," observed Dr. Johnson, "is the soul of advertisement."

Finally, he was unafraid to evaluate the masses. "Nothing has more retarded the advancement of learning," declared Samuel Johnson, "than the disposition of vulgar minds to ridicule and vilify what they cannot understand."

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