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OCTOR Johnson is not, perhaps, precisely the type
of humanist so much needed in our present welter of opinions; but his personality is so impressive, his general ideas upon life are so sound, and his thoroughgoing common sense so refreshing, that an adequate study of his intellectual life may well become of very
real value to many who are groping for permanent standards by which they may weigh the shifting sands of opinion. Humanism, the doctrine and the discipline which had its rise in the revival of classical scholarship in the Renaissance and took form in the following generations, is the truest and sanest force opposing the vagaries of our undisciplined democracy. A discussion of Johnson's position in this long tradition of conservative forces should illuminate many things concerned with our trying problems to-day.
It is the author's pleasure to acknowledge his indebtedness to certain men whose share in this work has not been inconsiderable. Professor George L. Kittredge of Harvard University habitually puts in his
student who comes in contact with him. Professor, now President, William A. Neilson had a chief formative influence upon the composition of this book. Professor Irving Babbitt was unusually generous in giving aid, both in the classroom and outside, to a
work that owes more to him than can easily be expressed. Finally, the author would wish to offer if he could some return for the unfailing kindness and the fine critical sense of his friend Robert M. Smith, Professor of English in the University of Wyoming, and formerly a colleague at the Naval Academy. The memorable nights in which this study was read chapter by chapter aloud to him, to be criticized rigorously and mercilessly, are among his most cherished recollections. If this book possesses any excellence as a study in modern humanism, a very large portion of the credit must be accorded to him.
Dr. G. Birkbeck Hill's extraordinarily fine editions of Boswell's Life of Johnson; Johnson's Lives of the Poets and Letters; and the Johnsonian Miscellanies, have been the texts used throughout. All references in the notes are to these editions, published by the Oxford University Press. Anyone who has had occasion to read into Johnsonian literature has found in them a perpetual delight and a perfect model of what editing should be.
Chapter VIII, somewhat altered in treatment, was published in the University of California Chronicle of January, 1913.