I am a freelance writer and an instructor in the School of Communication at East Carolina University. In a previous life, I was a reporter, critic and columnist for The Lawrence Journal-World, The State in Columbia, S.C., The Orlando Sentinel and the Raleigh News & Observer. In my freelance career, I have written for a variety of publications, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chicago Tribune, Metropolis Magazine, Las Vegas Weekly, Las Vegas CityLife, New Art Examiner, World Architecture, Architectural Record and afterimage. I am a member of the National Book Critics Circle and I write monthly about books for Las Vegas Weekly.
About “The Ante-room”: Samuel Johnson, who compiled the first comprehensive English Dictionary, sought the patronage of Lord Chesterfield, who had supported Johnson’s proposal for the dictionary but declined to provide further patronage until it was almost finished. At that point, he published two articles for a journal that praised Johnson, whereupon the tetchy Johnson wrote a letter to the noble, complaining of being “encumbered” with help when he no longer needed it.
“Seven years, my lord, have now past since I waited in your outward rooms or was repulsed from your door,” Johnson wrote, prompting an 1845 painting by E.M. Ward that was turned into a popular color engraving by C.W. Sharpe. Chesterfield, far from being annoyed, praised Johnson’s letter, and the two later reconciled. Still the letter is seen as striking a blow for the independence of writers.
Also, yes, I wondered about past sted passed. That’s how Boswell transcribed it.
Finally, the header image is from an iPhone photo I took in the Pantheon in Rome.