Phil Jones on Why We Read Samuel Johnson


For tens of thousands of years, human beings have been using fictional devices to shape their worlds and communicate with one another. Four thousand years ago they began writing down these stories, and a great flourishing of human achievement began. We know it today as literature, a term broad enough to encompass everything from ancient epic poetry to contemporary novels. How did literature develop? What forms has it taken? And what can we learn from engaging with these works today?

Hosted by Jacke Wilson, an amateur scholar with a lifelong passion for literature, The History of Literature takes a fresh look at some of the most compelling examples of creative genius the world has ever known.

It’s another milestone for the History of Literature Podcast! Jacke celebrates the six hundredth episode of the podcast with a return to one of his old favorites, the “harmless drudge” himself, Dr. Johnson, with the help of Johnsonian expert Phil Jones (Reading Samuel Johnson: Reception and Representation, 1750-1970). PLUS Rupert Holmes (Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide) shares his choice for the last book he will ever read.

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