SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709)
The year 1747 was made more distinguished by his writing of the
DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
I once asked him by what means he had attained such an astonishing
knowledge of language and he replied:
“How in the goddam hell should I know?”
Which is to say: not the effect of a particular study, but that which
had grown in his mind insensibly.
I was, understandably, a little surprised at his curt tone, his abrupt, and somewhat taciturn
response, and his uncharacteristic lack of curiosity on about my super slick shiny chrome modern
time transport machine with the wavy silver lightning bolt lines on top.