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Samuel Johnson (1709-84) rose from obscure origins to become one of the major literary figures of the eighteenth century as a poet, essayist, lexicographer, literary critic and conversationalist. He was also renowned as one of the most outspoken and controversial political commentators of the age, fomenting both admiration and rage in his own time, and still dividing scholars and readers to this day. Hudson's biography will reassess the evidence for Johnson's being an arch-conservative, as some have thought, or as a humane liberal, as others have argued. Through a detailed survey not only of Johnson's major works, but his numerous pieces of political journalism, Hudson constructs a complex picture of Johnson as a deeply committed Christian moralist who came to accept the essentially realistic nature of politics during an era of revolutionary transition.