Samuel Johnson: A Chronology
Samuel Johnson is born in Lichfield, England to Michael and Sarah Johnson.
Johnson enrolls in Pembroke College, Oxford. Unable to continue paying his bills, he withdraws little more than a year later.
"Messia," Johnson’s Latin translation of Alexander Pope's "Messiah" is published in Husbands's Miscellany, the first of his works to see print.
Johnson marries Elizabeth (Jervis) Porter, a widow twenty years his senior. With the inheritance from her late husband, he opens a grammar school. Attracting few pupils, he is forced to close it in January 1737.
With his friend and former pupil David Garrick, Johnson sets off for London to pursue a career as an author.
Johnson's poem London, his first important literary work, is published anonymously.
Johnson begins work on his dictionary, and writes A Short Scheme for Compiling a New Dictionary of the English Language, published the following year.
David Garrick’s Drury Lane Theatre performs Johnson’s tragedy Irene. Johnson publishes his poem The Vanity of Human Wishes.
Johnson issues the first of his twice-weekly series of essays entitled The Rambler. It will continue for two years, totaling 208 installments, all but seven written by Johnson.
Elizabeth Johnson dies. Johnson never remarries.
After nine years of labor, A Dictionary of the English Language is published.
Johnson writes The Prince of Abyssinia (better known as Rasselas), in just one week’s time, to pay the expenses of his mother’s final illness and funeral.
Johnson is granted a royal pension of £300 per year.
Johnson meets James Boswell for the first time.
Sir Joshua Reynolds founds the Club, its membership drawn from Johnson’s circle of friends.
Johnson publishes his long-awaited edition of the works of Shakespeare.
Boswell and Johnson tour Scotland together; the trip forms the basis of Johnson’s A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (1775) and Boswell’s The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, with Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (1785).
Johnson publishes the first volumes of his Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, to the Works of the English Poets, completed in 1781.
Johnson dies on December 13th, at age 75. He is buried in Westminster Abbey the following week.