Addison and Johnson

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Addison & Johnson Essay

In Boswell's "The Life of Samuel Jackson", he writes of his view of the authors Addison and Johnson. He uses the matter of factness to describe each author's unique presence and writing style. From the beginning, Boswell clearly states that he thinks it "unjust" to call Addison nerveless and feeble, but favors Johnson throughout the passage. He is able to show us how to appreciate two different styles, even if you are more partial to one of them. Boswell speaks fairly of both Johnson and Addison, comparing them yet stressing their individual strengths as writers. Readers get a clear sense of the respect Boswell possesses for each writer as he describes them using a list technique. Simile is used to compare Johnson to hard liquor, and Addison to a light wine, which is an object many can easily relate to and get a real feel of their persona. Like a light wine, Addison's writing pleases from the beginning. Johnson's however, seem "too strong" at first. Addison, in this passage, is spoken as a highly respected person Boswell looks up to. Although it is mentioned that he does not write with the strength and energy of Johnson, Boswell expresses Addison as a talented writer. He reflects that Addison's readers fancy that fact that his style allows a wise and an accomplished character to "speak" to them. Johnson on the other hand, "writes like a teacher." His style allows his stories to dictate to his readers, but does not write so in a way that is admired. When his readers "attend" to his writings, they come with awe and admiration." At the closing of the passage, Boswell says, "so much do they captivate the ear, and seize upon the attention, that there is scarcely any writer...who does not the same species of excellence." This is the way Boswell shows his ultimate respect for each, showing that even though their techniques are completely difference, they are both looked up upon and admired as equals...
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