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Record 22292

Reading Experience:

'In this letter [to Boswell from Mr Mickle] he relates his having, while engaged in translating the "Lusiad", had a dispute of considerable length with Johnson, who, as usual, declaimed upon the misery and corruption of a sea life, and used this expression:--"It had been happy for the world, Sir, if your hero Gama, Prince Henry of Portugal, and Columbus, had never been born, or that their schemes had never gone farther than their own imaginations". "This sentiment, (says Mr. Mickle,) which is to be found in his "Introduction to the World displayed", I, in my Dissertation prefixed to the "Lusiad", have controverted; and though authours are said to be bad judges of their own works, I am not ashamed to own to a friend, that that dissertation is my favourite above all that I ever attempted in prose. Next year, when the "Lusiad" was published, I waited on Dr. Johnson, who addressed me with one of his good-humoured smiles:--'Well, you have remembered our dispute about Prince Henry, and have cited me too. You have done your part very well indeed: you have made the best of your argument; but I am not convinced yet'."
Century: 1700-1799
Date: Until: 31 Dec 1776
Country: England
Time: n/a
Place: n/a
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:Samuel Johnson
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 18 Sep 1709
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: writer
Religion: Anglican
Country of origin: England
Country of experience: England
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: Luis Vaz de Camoens
Title: Lusiads
Genre: Poetry
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: translated from the Portuguese by William Julius Mickle, 1776
Provenance: unknown


Source Information:

Record ID: 22292  
Source - Print  
  Author: James Boswell
  Editor: R.W. Chapman
  Title: Life of Johnson
  Place of Publication: Oxford
  Date of Publication: 1980
  Vol: n/a
  Page: 1258
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: James Boswell, R.W. Chapman (ed.), Life of Johnson (Oxford, 1980), p. 1258,, accessed: 04 February 2023

Additional comments:

Originally published 1791.



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)