Samuel Johnson published Johnson's: A Dictionary of the English Language in 1755 after 9 years of work. It was described as "one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship," and had a far-reaching effect on modern English. It was "colossal" at nearly 18 inches tall! Johnson's was the premier English dictionary until the publication of the Oxford English Dictionary 150 years later.
Samuel's dictionary was more than just a word list: his work provided a vast understanding of 18th century's language and culture. His lasting contributions guaranteed him a place in literary history.
After working as a teacher, he moved to London, where he began to write for The Gentleman's Magazine. His early works include the biography Life of Mr Richard Savage, the poems London and The Vanity of Human Wishes, and the play Irene.
Boswell's Life, along with other biographies, documented Samuel's behaviour and mannerisms in such detail that they have informed the posthumous diagnosis of Tourette syndrome, a condition not defined or diagnosed in the 18th century. After a series of illnesses, he died on the evening of 13 December 1784, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. In the years following his death, he began to be recognised as having had a lasting effect on literary criticism, and he was claimed by some to be the only truly great critic of English literature.