Derek Jarrett is Editor of the Yale edition of Horace Walpole’s Memoirs. His edition of The Memoirs of the Reign of George III will be published later this year. (March 1999)

The Doctor’s Prescription

“Johnson grown old, Johnson in the fulness of his fame and in the enjoyment of a competent fortune, is better known to us than any other man in history,” wrote Macaulay in 1831. “His vigorous, acute, and ready eloquence, his sarcastic wit, his vehemence, his insolence, his fits of tempestuous …

Twin Peaks

For the greater part of human history mountaintops were imagined rather than visited. As well as being desolate and difficult to reach they had in many cases been appropriated by gods and goddesses, either as permanent homes or as settings for special effects designed to overawe the humbler creation. Moses …

Rogue Genius

“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money,” said Dr. Johnson. Few men exemplified the dictum better than Henry Fielding. He was a great writer, a hard-working journalist, and a prolific playwright as well as perhaps the first and greatest of English novelists, but he was certainly not …

Guilt-Edged Insecurity

Some have kept diaries to remind themselves of their deeds, others to reproach themselves for their misdeeds. On March 28, 1754, Thomas Turner, school-master of East Hoathly in Sussex and subsequently proprietor of the village shop, recorded remorsefully in his diary that he had been appallingly drunk that day. “Oh! …