Here is a substantial selection of Samuel Johnson's magisterial and unforgettable portraits of the lives of the English poets of the 17th and 18th centuries. Originally covering the lives of 52 poets, with the primary focus on Milton, Dryden, Swift, and Pope, Johnson's Lives was described by Thomas Gray as a "compendious story of a whole important age in English literature, told by a great man, and in a performance which is itself a piece of English literature of the first class." Unsentimental, opinionated, and quotable, The Lives of the Poets continues to influence the reputations of the writers concerned. This selectionfeaturing the lives of eleven of the most important poetsdraws from Roger Lonsdale's authoritative complete edition. It includes an engaging introduction, helpful notes, and an up-to-date bibliography. Its publication coincides with the 300th anniversary of Johnson's birth in September 1709.