Letter to Lord Chesterfield Precis Analysis

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In his letter to Lord Chesterfield, Samuel Johnson expresses his disdain towards the Earl of Chesterfield. Johnson uses a sarcastic and cynical tone throughout the letter and makes allusions to further emphasize his point. Johnson is informed that the Lord had published two reviews of his Dictionary, despite providing no assistance, which Johnson finds hypocritical. He later compares Lord Chesterfield to a heartless character in Virgil’s work and a man who watches a drowning man suffer. Johnson declares that he does not need or want any help from the Lord and is capable of completing the dictionary on his own. In conclusion, Johnson signs off with a mocking statement towards Lord Chesterfield.

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Throughout his letter, Letter to Lord Chesterfield, Samuel Johnson, an English writer, depicts his feelings toward the honorable Earl of Chesterfield, Phillip Dormer. Johnson’s tone throughout the letter is very cynical and sarcastic; he also uses a handful amount of allusions in order to allude to his point. In the opening statement of the letter, Johnson States that he has been informed by the owner of The World, a magazine, that the Lord Chesterfield has published two reviews of Johnson’s Dictionary, (one to which he was supposed to be a patron) where he stated that he was the Patron, even though he provided no assistance with the work.

Johnson proclaims that although he is honored by this statement of recognition, he is not aware of the way he is suppose to handle it, due to this being the first time the Lord shows any compliance with the work. In the preceding paragraph, Johnson goes on to say that while he was at the Lord’s house he felt like he was conquered by the charisma of the Lord.

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Johnson then expresses that he wishes he would be the conqueror of the conqueror of the world in order to hold up to the reputation the Lord pronounced him as in The World; but since Johnson felt like he was unwelcome and unsolicited by the Lord, nothing was present to keep him from leaving. One day when Johnson encountered the Lord in public, he gave him as much respect as a inelegant intellectual would have; Johnson states that he gave all the respect he could, but that was all since it is difficult for a man to have his all rejected.

Following this, Johnson asserts that it has been seven years now since he once stood on his doorway; unwanted. He declares that he has been working on this plan, pushing through the controversies with no complaints; He is the one who brought it all the way to the brim of publication with no help whatsoever, with no encouragement, with no smile; Johnson protests that he did not expect that. In the following paragraph, Johnson alludes to the shepherd’s story in Virgil’s work. Through this he makes fun of the Lord because, Love, while iving on the rocks, is considered to be a cruel and heartless character. Johnson declares belief in his own ability to control the situation and complete the dictionary after such a long endeavor. In the preceding paragraph Johnson compares the Lord to a man who stands and watches a drowning man suffer, and doesn’t help until the drowning man has drug himself onto the land. Johnson declares that if the Lord had helped earlier, he would have appreciated it, but since the kindness is long overdue, there is no need for it anymore.

Following that statement, Johnson declares that he hopes that the Lord doesn’t expect any recognition from him because he does not deserve it, for God has set the plan for him to do the task on his own. In the final paragraph, Johnson again states clearly that neither does he need, nor want, any help whatsoever from the Lord and he is capable of doing it all on his own. Johnson then closes the letter by saying “Your Lordship’s Most humble, Most Obedient Servant,” which is again making fun of and mocking Lord Chesterfield.

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Letter to Lord Chesterfield Precis Analysis. (2016, Nov 25). Retrieved from


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