Books: The Harmless Drudge

JOHNSON'S DICTIONARY, A MODERN SELECTION (465 pp.)—E. L. McAdam Jr. and George Milne—Pantheon ($6.50).

Anyone who has ever used pen and ink ("the black liquor with which men write") has cause to be grateful to Dr. Samuel Johnson, who compiled what was almost the first and for a long time the best dictionary of the English language.

Before civilization became overclotted with low pragmatical fellows, a man of letters cut a fine figure in the world. None was more pompous ("splendid; magnificent; grand") than Dr. Samuel Johnson, known to his contemporaries as the Great...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!