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...

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