Cover image for Samuel Johnson is indignant : stories
Samuel Johnson is indignant : stories
Davis, Lydia.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : McSweeney's Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
201 pages ; 22 cm
Boring friends -- A mown lawn -- City people -- Betrayal -- The white tribe -- Our trip -- Special chair -- Certain knowledge from Herodotus -- Priority -- The meeting -- Companion -- Blind date -- Examples of remember -- Old Mother and the Grouch -- Samuel Johnson is indignant -- New Year's resolution -- First grade: Handwriting practice -- Interesting -- Happiest moment -- Jury duty -- A double negative -- The old dictionary -- Honoring the subjunctive -- How difficult -- Losing memory -- Letter to a funeral parlor -- Thyroid diary -- Information from the North concerning the Ice -- Murder in Bohemia -- Happy memories -- They take turns using a word they like -- Marie Curie, So honorable woman -- Mir the Hessian -- My neighbors in a foreign place -- Oral history (with hiccups) -- The patient -- Right and wrong -- Alvin the typesetter -- Special -- Selfish -- My husband and I -- Spring spleen -- Her damage -- Working men -- In a northern country -- Away from home -- Company -- Finances -- The transformation -- Two sisters (II) -- The furnace -- Young and poor -- The silence of Mrs. Iln -- Almost over: separate bedrooms -- Money.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Library

On Order



One of the Village Voice's 25 Favorite Books and the ALA's 2002 Notable Books, this collection of 56 stories is like nothing else. By which we mean: there is nothing else like this. Lydia Davis makes simple things complicated and complicated things simple, and it is all amazing to behold.

Author Notes

Lydia Davis is the author of several works of fiction. She is also a noted translator.

She teaches at Bard College and lives in Port Ewen, New York.

(Publisher Provided) Lydia Davis is a writer and translator. She is a professor of creative writing at the University at Albany, SUNY, and was a Lillian Vernon Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at New York University in 2012.

Davis has published six collections of short stories, including The Thirteenth Woman and Other Stories (1976) and Break It Down (1986), a Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her most recent collection was Varieties of Disturbance, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2007 and a Finalist for the National Book Award.

Davis' stories are acclaimed for their brevity and humor. Many are only one or two sentences. Her book Can't and Won't made the New York Times Bestseller List in 2014. She has also translated Proust, Flaubert, Blanchot, Foucault, Michel Leiris, Pierre Jean Jouve and other French writers, as well as the Dutch writer A.L. Snijders.

In October 2003 Davis received a MacArthur Fellowship. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005. Davis was announced as the winner of the 2013 Man Booker International Prize on 22 May 2013. Davis won £60,000 as part of the biennial award.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

To herald a Davis book as "the usual" may sound like faint praise, but the writer's loyal fans know that it is anything but. In this latest collection, Davis (Almost No Memory; The End of the Story) doesn't disappoint: the 56 stories paragraph-long meditations, stories in sections and humorous one-liners showcase the wordplay and distillation of meaning that have become her stylistic hallmarks, offering up crisp twists on familiar themes. In "The Meeting," a woman's corporate encounter sparks an internal identity crisis and rant; the childbearing conundrum is nailed in "A Double Negative." Relationships are probed in stories ranging from "Old Mother and the Grouch," with its fancifully imagined characters, to the brief "Finances," which gives voice to the messy issue of domestic equality. There are riffs on mown lawns and the use of the word "cremains" by a funeral parlor, and spooled-out ponderings on domestic priorities, selfishness and boring friends. Communication and language are paramount in Davis's world: an elderly man searches for his brother a language researcher in a hostile environment in "In a Northern Country," and a one-sided question-and-answer session in "Jury Duty" is the more revealing for what is omitted. The title story is an example of the author's famous one-liners that provide initial quick humor, then cause the reader to think again. And a longer story about Marie Curie, told in sections, fascinates with its interior imaginings. Eclectic and astute, Davis continues to find new ways to tell us the things we need to know. (Oct.) Forecast: Davis attracts a cultish core audience, and the low price of this hardcover title should make it an attractive impulse purchase. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



SAMUEL JOHNSON IS INDIGNANT (Chapter One)Boring Friends We know only four boring people. The rest of our friends we find very interesting. However, most of the friends we find interesting find us boring: the most interesting find us the most boring. The few who are somewhere in the middle, with whom there is reciprocal interest, we distrust: at any moment, we feel, they may become too interesting for us, or we too interesting for them. SAMUEL JOHNSON IS INDIGNANT Copyright (c) 1976, 1981, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 by Lydia Davis. Excerpted from Samuel Johnson Is Indignant: Stories by Lydia Davis All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Boring Friendsp. 1
A Mown Lawnp. 2
City Peoplep. 3
Betrayalp. 4
The White Tribep. 6
Our Tripp. 7
Special Chairp. 12
Certain Knowledge from Herodotusp. 14
Priorityp. 15
The Meetingp. 17
Companionp. 21
Blind Datep. 22
Examples of Rememberp. 28
Old Mother and the Grouchp. 29
Samuel Johnson Is Indignantp. 44
New Year's Resolutionp. 45
First Grade: Handwriting Practicep. 47
Interestingp. 48
Happiest Momentp. 50
Jury Dutyp. 51
A Double Negativep. 66
The Old Dictionaryp. 67
Honoring the Subjunctivep. 71
How Difficultp. 72
Losing Memoryp. 73
Letter to a Funeral Parlorp. 74
Thyroid Diaryp. 76
Information from the North Concerning the Icep. 92
Murder in Bohemiap. 93
Happy Memoriesp. 94
They Take Turns Using a Word They Likep. 98
Marie Curie, So Honorable Womanp. 99
Mir the Hessianp. 119
My Neighbors in a Foreign Placep. 121
Oral History (with Hiccups)p. 125
The Patientp. 127
Right and Wrongp. 129
Alvin the Typesetterp. 130
Specialp. 137
Selfishp. 138
My Husband and Ip. 140
Spring Spleenp. 141
Her Damagep. 142
Working Menp. 145
In a Northern Countryp. 146
Away from Homep. 167
Companyp. 168
Financesp. 170
The Transformationp. 171
Two Sisters (II)p. 173
The Furnacep. 176
Young and Poorp. 192
The Silence of Mrs. Ilnp. 193
Almost Over: Separate Bedroomsp. 199
Moneyp. 200
Acknowledgementp. 201