With his wit, eloquence and shrewd perception of contemporary morals, Samuel Johnson was the most versatile of Augustan writers. His dictionary, dramas and poetry established his reputation, but it was the essays published in 'The Rambler', 'The Adventurer' and 'The Idler' that demonstrated the range of his talent.
Tackling ethical questions such as the importance of self-knowledge, awareness of mortality, the role of the novel, and, in a lighter vein, marriage, sleep and deceit, these brilliant and thought-provoking essays are a mirror of the time in which they were written and a testament to Johnson's stature as the leading man of letters of his age.
This new edition contains a broad selection of essays presenting both forcefully argued moral pieces of Johnson's middle years and the more light-hearted essays of his later work. The introduction places the works in their historical and literary context, and there is also a chronology of Johnson's life and times.