Samuel Johnson: Life of Mr Richard Savage

(1916 words)
  • Adam Simon Rounce (University of Nottingham)

An Account of the Life of Mr Richard Savage was published, anonymously, in 1744. The poet Richard Savage (1697/8-1743) was famous for his disputed claims of aristocratic birth. In 1727 he had killed a man in a tavern brawl, and in 1743, after years of precarious living, he had died in a debtor's prison. Yet these sensational materials are used in the Life of Savage for far more serious purposes. It is a work that transcends its generic origins, and is one of the first masterpieces of its author, Savage's friend Samuel Johnson. A far more famous and successful Johnson would later insert it into The Lives of the Poets in 1779. It was immediately popular, and, along with its narrative command and power quickly established …

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Rounce, Adam Simon. "Life of Mr Richard Savage". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 November 2004
[, accessed 22 May 2015.]