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Johnson and «The Letters of Junius»

New Perspectives on an Old Enigma

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Linde Katritzky

The anonymous Letters of Junius appeared in the Public Advertiser in London between January 21, 1769 and January 21, 1772. Read and discussed avidly at home and abroad until well into the nineteenth century, they were ascribed to the most distinguished writers of the epoch. Only when all these attributions proved incorrect, and minor authors had to be considered, did interest in them begin to wane. The present study sets out to demonstrate that only an exceptional stylist and scholar could have conducted this influential and farsighted correspondence - that its author commanded all the outstanding gifts, and accomplishments of Johnson himself, and that they both may very well have been one and and the same person.