Sep 18, 2009, 06:48AM

300 years ago today

The brilliant lexicographer and writer, Samuel Johnson, was born.

Whoever is to blame for it, Samuel Johnson's books are unread but his life remains gripping. It's a tale of sexual frustration, low life, spasmodic tics, drug addiction, fear of madness, disappointment in love, black depression and celebrity.

Johnson, born 300 years ago this month, is just like us, only more so. The more that is known about him, the more likeable he becomes. Goodness knows, there is plenty about him bobbing around at the moment – notably a good new biography by David Nokes, in addition to last year's excellent one by Peter Martin.


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