Johnson and Lockean empiricism


David R. Anderson and Gwin J. Kolb

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Approaches to the Teaching of Samuel Johnson


Modern Language Association

Publisher Location

New York, NY

First page number:


Last page number:



The works of Samuel Johnson--in particular, the famous Dictionary and the Lives of the Poets--have long held a central place in the English curriculum. This volume from the MLA derives its rationale from a different source, however: reports from experienced teachers of Johnson that students truly enjoy reading him. Johnson's writings can speak directly to students' concerns about identity and vocation, the role of authority, the relations between the sexes, and the challenge of trying to live according to one's own ideas. Approaches to Teaching the Works of Samuel Johnson shows the ways successful teachers have used these topics to enliven classroom discussion.

Like other books in the MLA's Approaches to Teaching World Literature series, this one is divided into two parts. The first part, "Materials," weighs the merits of various anthologies of Johnson's works and evaluates the relevant scholarly and critical resources. In the second part, "Approaches," sixteen contributors offer thematic teaching strategies for use in courses ranging from composition to women's studies; explore methods of teaching Johnson's works to nonmajors, particularly in survey courses of British literature or Western civilization; and focus on teaching specific works, both the familiar ones and those that are less well known, including Johnson's letters, the Soame Jenyns review, and A Journey to the Western Islands.


Literature in English, British Isles | Philosophy




Use Find in Your Library, contact the author, or use interlibrary loan to garner a copy of the article. Publisher copyright policy allows author to archive post-print (author’s final manuscript). When post-print is available or publisher policy changes, the article will be deposited

Search your library