Quiz about The Life Of Samuel Johnson
Quiz about The Life Of Samuel Johnson

The Life Of Samuel Johnson Trivia Quiz


I've always been an admirer of Samuel Johnson, both as a man and as a writer. If you share my tastes, can you answer the following questions on his life?

A multiple-choice quiz by TabbyTom. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
TabbyTom
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
61,507
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
420
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 157 (6/10), Guest 157 (5/10), Guest 152 (6/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. In which cathedral city was Johnson born on September 18, 1709? Hint

Durham
Oxford
Lichfield
Gloucester

2. As a 2-year-old child Johnson was brought to London to be touched by the monarch, in the hope that the touch would cure him of scrofula. Who was the monarch? Hint

Queen Anne
Queen Mary II
King William III
King George I

3. Johnson's college days were cut short by poverty, and he left without taking a degree. Which university did he attend? Hint

Cambridge
Oxford
Edinburgh
Trinity College, Dublin

4. After an unsuccessful spell as a schoolmaster, Johnson left Lichfield for London. He was accompanied by a former pupil, who made a name for himself in the theatre. Who was this companion? Hint

James Quin
David Garrick
Charles Macklin
Sam Foote

5. One of Johnson's first literary works was the satirical poem entitled 'London'. It is based on a satire about Rome by which Roman poet? Hint

Horace
Virgil
Persius
Juvenal

6. Who was the nobleman and politician to whom Johnson dedicated the Plan for his Dictionary? Hint

The Duke of Marlborough
The Earl of Chatham
The Earl of Chesterfield
The Earl of Sandwich

7. In January 1759 Johnson produced 'Rasselas', and asked for an advance of thirty pounds from his publisher. For what was this money needed? Hint

A journey to Scotland
His mother's funeral
Tavern bills at the 'Cheshire Cheese'
Rent

8. In 1777, Johnson played a leading part in an unsuccessful campaign to secure a reprieve for William Dodd, a clergyman who had been sentenced to death. What was Dodd's crime? Hint

Murder
Highway robbery
Treason
Forgery

9. At dinner on April 15, 1778, Johnson declared 'I am ready to love all mankind, except ________________'. Complete his sentence. Hint

a Whig
an American
a Roman Catholic
James Boswell

10. Johnson had a cat, whom he described as 'a very fine cat indeed' and for whom he bought oysters. What was the cat's name? Hint

Tom
Hodge
Tiger
Puss


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. In which cathedral city was Johnson born on September 18, 1709?

Answer: Lichfield

Johnson seems to have retained an affection for his home town. There are at least two references to it in his Dictionary.
2. As a 2-year-old child Johnson was brought to London to be touched by the monarch, in the hope that the touch would cure him of scrofula. Who was the monarch?

Answer: Queen Anne

Scrofula was known as the 'King's Evil'. The belief that it could be cured by the royal touch goes back at least as far as the reign of Edward the Confessor. Anne was the last sovereign to 'touch for the evil'. In Johnson's case, the cure didn't work.
3. Johnson's college days were cut short by poverty, and he left without taking a degree. Which university did he attend?

Answer: Oxford

Johnson spent four terms at Pembroke College, Oxford before returning to Lichfield. By all accounts he was not an easy student to teach.
4. After an unsuccessful spell as a schoolmaster, Johnson left Lichfield for London. He was accompanied by a former pupil, who made a name for himself in the theatre. Who was this companion?

Answer: David Garrick

In later life Johnson and Garrick liked to recount the tale of their journey, but probably exaggerated their hardships. Johnson's reported statement that they arrived in London with fourpence between them is almost certainly false.
5. One of Johnson's first literary works was the satirical poem entitled 'London'. It is based on a satire about Rome by which Roman poet?

Answer: Juvenal

Like Juvenal's Rome, Johnson's London is depicted as a city of squalor, violent crime, immorality, foreign influence and political corruption in which a decent man can't hope to make a living. But in time Johnson came to believe that 'when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life'.
6. Who was the nobleman and politician to whom Johnson dedicated the Plan for his Dictionary?

Answer: The Earl of Chesterfield

The Earl took little interest in the project after it was launched, but commended it heartily when it was completed. Johnson's letter to Chesterfield, declining his lordship's belated support, is one of the greatest put-downs in the language.
7. In January 1759 Johnson produced 'Rasselas', and asked for an advance of thirty pounds from his publisher. For what was this money needed?

Answer: His mother's funeral

Sarah Johnson died in Lichfield at the age of ninety. Although Johnson had never showed any strong emotions towards his mother, he was devastated by her death.
8. In 1777, Johnson played a leading part in an unsuccessful campaign to secure a reprieve for William Dodd, a clergyman who had been sentenced to death. What was Dodd's crime?

Answer: Forgery

Dodd was a popular preacher and had been tutor to the fifth Earl of Chesterfield, the son of Johnson's patron. He ran into debt and forged Chesterfield's signature to a bond. The death sentence was not commuted, and on June 27, 1777 he was carted from Newgate Prison to Tyburn and publicly hanged.
9. At dinner on April 15, 1778, Johnson declared 'I am ready to love all mankind, except ________________'. Complete his sentence.

Answer: an American

Johnson expressed his views on 'the ridiculous claims of American usurpation' in his usual forthright way. They can be found in 'The Patriot' and 'Taxation No Tyranny', published in 1774 and 1775.
10. Johnson had a cat, whom he described as 'a very fine cat indeed' and for whom he bought oysters. What was the cat's name?

Answer: Hodge

As a cat-lover myself, I find Johnson's fondness for Hodge one of his most endearing traits. I wish Boswell had told us more about Hodge, and I'm grateful to Polygon for pointing out that there's more information about him at http://www.moggies.co.uk/stories/finecat.html
Source: Author TabbyTom

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor crisw before going online.
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