Dr Johnson

C. E. Vullamy (Ursa Major, 1946 )writes of Samuel Johnson in one place: ‘And in one matter, at least, he showed a degree of common sense which is greatly superior to that of many people to-day: he was never the dupe of antiquarian inventions. Our primitive stone remains, then regarded as Druidical, he gazed at with indifference; for he saw their blank and unrevealing simplicity. He would have snorted with contempt if anyone had spoken to him of “the symbolism of megalithic architecture” or any such nonsense, or presented him with our fashionable whimsies about cult and ritual. “All that is really known of the ancient state of Britain”, he said, “is contained in a few pages. We can know no more than what the old writers have told us.” That is fundamentally as true to-day as it was then, in spite of the endeavour to twist archaeology into fairy-stories with an anthropological moral.’ (Ursa Major: A Study of Dr. Johnson and His Friends, London: Michael Joseph 1946, p.120.)




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