This is an essay from the Favorite Essays collection.
Here, in this unusual collection, are some of the greatest essays in Western literature. Witty, informative and imaginative, the topics vary from starvation in Ireland, fine China, the extension of railways in the Lake District, and the tombs in Westminster Abbey. A little like after-dinner monologues, they are passing thoughts expressed as journalism. Neville Jason reads with urbane clarity.
Having basically written the dictionary, Samuel Johnson is one interesting thinker. Here, Neville Jason has collected two of Johnson's best essays: "Solitude Not Eligible" and "Good Humor". In the former, Johnson argues that a lonely life makes poor sense. In the second, he praises the will to please; good humor, he explains, is the "balm of being". In his smooth and deep voice, Jason handles highbrow vocabulary with ease. Still, the outdated syntax proves trying at times. Perhaps let the illustrious words wash over you once and then give this production a second listen to get to its meat.
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- C. E. Scurr