Friday, April 6, 2018

Samuel Johnson on female happiness, plagiarized in Poughkeepsie

From The Rambler No. 128 - June 8, 1751
Rather, unhappiness. A long, only slightly modified excerpt from Samuel Johnson's essay in The Rambler No. 128 (June 8, 1751) was published over the signature "R." in the Poughkeepsie Country Journal and Dutchess and Ulster County Farmer's Register of October 14, 1788. Otherwise uncredited, the item from "R." appeared under the heading "For the Country Journal." The Poughkeepsie contributor omits the general, "universal" application of the moral argument that concluded Johnson's 1751 essay:
"Such is the state of every age, every sex, and every condition: all have their cares, either from nature or from folly: and whoever therefore finds himself inclined to envy another, should remember that he knows not the real condition which he desires to obtain, but is certain that, by indulging a vicious passion, he must lessen that happiness which he thinks already too sparingly bestowed."  --The Rambler No. 128. Anxiety universal

· Tue, Oct 14, 1788 – Page 2 · Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, New York) ·

By virtue of the signature "R." this item is listed with other prose writings attributed to Henry Livingston Jr on the Livingston website, there transcribed under the title, Female Happiness. In a footnote to the second chapter of Who Wrote "The Night Before Christmas"? (page 177 note 18), MacDonald P. Jackson quotes Livingston on Catullus without acknowledging the source in Samuel Jonson's Rambler.

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1 comment:

  1. Well done! Again! Wonderful deep research to discover the source for this piece. One would really wish that Henry was better at identifying his sources, too. But this is such a great contribution to understanding which texts of Henry's should be included in any future analyses, and which should not. That is just fantastic help. Infinite thank yous. And I'm certain that Mac would have acknowledged the source in his book if your wonderful deep dive had been known when he was writing. The joy of research is not in confirming one opinion or another, but of discovering facts and then fitting them into the puzzle without breaking off the edges. Jigsaw puzzling is happiest as a joint endeavor.


    Mary Van Deusen