Authors who inspired Samuel Johnson’s language use in 'The Rambler'
an investigation of his reading sources based on a phraseological unit "of our present state"
Keywords:Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, Phraseology, CLMET, EEBO
The present study attempts to identify some of the reading sources by which Samuel Johnson was inspired when writing his periodical, The Rambler (1750–1752). To this end, 4-grams were extracted both from The Rambler corpus and the 1710–1780 subset of The Corpus of Late Modern English Text 3.0 (CLMET 3.0). This was conducted to detect the phrases that appeared only in The Rambler and not found in the texts, as far as the corpus is concerned, that were contemporary to his collection of essays. The study exclusively focuses on the cluster “of our present state” and traces its use in the era that preceded Johnson’s time using the corpus of Early English Books Online (EEBO). It was found that “of our present state” was commonly used in sermon-style or theology-related works in the 17th century, which indicates, along with the fact that Johnson was religiously committed, that Johnson obtained some inspiration from these writings.
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