Luigi Campopiano writes about…Mr Johnson?

[This week], I was in a very old fashioned house in the centre of London. From an outside view it seems something special because around it there are only new buildings. We can imagine a house which doesn’t belong to this age: effectively I’m talking about Johnson’s house. You’re thinking who [is] this Mr. Johnson is: the Johnson’s surname is very common in England. Nevertheless, this Mr. Johnson is very famous: he was the first writer of a common English dictionary, called “A Dictionary of the English Language”.

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Our little trip started from the third floor of this old fashioned house: indeed [it] was a very beautiful and ordered attic, in the center a table supporting two enormous books. Those books were a real reproduction of “A Dictionary of the English Language”. A very cute girl explained to us something about that dictionary. It was commissioned in June of 1746 from a group of London booksellers for 1500 guineas (actually approximately £230,000). Mr. Johnson spent 9 years of his life to complete the dictionary with only their own forces (only the assistance of aides to copy the quotes that he had already scored in the books that he consulted). This work changed the way to write a dictionary: it was a modern dictionary, with an accurate meaning of the word, some examples, the hyphenation. We can say that “A Dictionary of the English Language” is a modern dictionary (I found the word “CAR”, unbelievable).

Then, we came down to the second floor. The Speaker showed us the enormous quantity of books that Mr. Johnson wrote in his life. He wrote also something about slavery (he was against it) and U.S. taxation. In that floor, we could see some friends of Mr. Johnson: the most famous was an actor (I don’t remember the name), who made famous many Shakespeare’s works (generally he changed the end of that works to make them more funny). The Speaker also spoke about a man who came from Africa to learn English (he spoke also with the king, but he wrong a verb).

After that we went to the ground floor to drink a cup of tea all together. We could see an ancient kind of “Selfie”: a famous painter made a selfie without an I-phone.

See you man.

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