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Archive for October 14th, 2006

A repre-hensible false-hood

This rare broadside commemorates an even rarer occurrence— Samuel Johnson publicly caught in a mistake. The satirist and agitator John Wilkes seized upon Johnson’s remark in the Dictionary that the letter H “seldom, perhaps never, begins any but the first syllable.” Wilkes gleefully composed a letter to the Public Advertiser which employed no fewer than 27 counterexamples. Even Boswell, always Johnson’s stoutest defender, was forced to concede, “The position is undoubtedly expressed with too much latitude.”

Wilkes letter

Published in:John Overholt |on October 14th, 2006 |Comments Off on A repre-hensible false-hood