« AnteriorContinua »
J. WIGHT DUFF, M.A.
LATE SCHOLAR OF PEMBROKE COLLEGE, OXFORD;
WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS
EDINBURGH AND LONDON
The text adopted in this edition of the Lives of Milton and Addison is virtually Johnson's own, modernised in spelling and punctuation. It seemed inadvisable to follow Cunningham's method of correcting in the text erroneous dates or quotations, and such corrections have been left to the notes; on the other hand, discussion of variant readings, due to Johnson's own revision, is foreign to the purpose of an edition intended for schools and colleges. Older names of places—such as Hamburgh (p. 4) and Namptwich (p. 59)—and old forms, such as catched, sunk (p. 91) for sank, sung (p. 58) for sang, and succours (p. 132) — have been retained. Where the difference is only one of spelling, a modern dress has been given to words like musick, alledged, Restauration, atchieved, chusing, visiters, chearful, compleat. Paragraphs, separate in early editions, have been in many cases united to accord with modern usage and logical connection. Three brief omissions, amounting to about four lines in all, have been made, so that the text is considerably fuller than in Matthew Arnold's edition of the Six Chief Lives.'
The notes aim constantly at making Johnson's own meaning clear and interesting to the student. While his more important inaccuracies of statement or quotation are pointed out, it has been borne in mind, in the Introduction and in the Notes generally, that it is of more vital moment to understand Johnson the man and Johnson the critic, than to be able to correct his slips in genealogy and chronology, or give the exact dates of Milton's Italian acquaintances Francini, Selvaggi, and Salsilli. After all, the book is the thing; and thus the notes, though necessarily numerous to the names and illustrations so abundant in Johnson, have been as far as possible condensed.
For certain of the notes I beg to acknowledge hints received from Professor Deighton's edition of the Milton' and Mr Ryland's edition of the 'Addison,' and from several of the works cited in the list of select books of reference. But I should especially recall the enthusiasm for Johnson awakened in me years ago by the friendship and the writings of the greatest of Johnsonian scholars, Dr G. Birkbeck Hill. To my friend and former tutor, Mr George Wood, Bursar of Pembroke College, Oxford, I tender my hearty thanks for the list of Johnson relics in Pembroke, which forms one of the Appendices to this volume.
J. W. D.