Our one class on Johnson -- Johnson as a proto-Romantic, that is to say the first poet we're doing who really describes (in his poetry and in his essays) the experience of human subjectivity tout court, without (as opposed to Dryden or Pope or Swift) referring to particularities of time, place, religion, politics, etc.  Rather he is the most transparent of the writers we have read so far, and is doing the kind of writing that will be associated with Romanticism.

His signal accomplishments: the Dictionary and thus the alphabetical poem to Mrs. Thrale; his letter to Chesterfield ("Is not a patron, my lord..."); his definition of net; the dangerous prevalence of the imagination; the grimmest part of "The Vanity of Human Wishes."