Boswell: Citizen of the World, Man of Letters

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These eleven original essays by well-known eighteenth-century scholars, five of them editors of James Boswell's journal or letters, commemorate the bicentenary of Boswell's death on May 19, 1795. The volume illuminates both the life and the work of one of the most important literary figures of the age and contributes significantly to the scholarship on this rich period. In the introduction, Irma S. Lustig sets the tone for the volume. She reveals that the essays examining Boswell as "Citizen of the World" are deliberately paired with those that analyze his artistic skills, to emphasize that "Boswell's sophistication as a writer is inseparable from his cosmopolitanism." The essays in Part I focus on the relationship of the Enlightenment, at home and abroad, to Boswell's personal development. Marlies K. Danziger restores to significant life the continental philosophers and theologians Boswell consulted in his search for religious certainty. Peter Perreten examines Boswell's enraptured study of Italian antiquity and his responses to the European landscape. Richard B. Sher and Perreten document the personal and aesthetic influence of Henry Home, Lord Kames, Scottish jurist and leading Enlightenment figure, on Boswell. Michael Fry discusses Boswell's relationship with Henry Dundas, political manager for Scotland, and Thomas Crawford examines Boswell's long-standing interest in the volatile political issues of the period, including the French Revolution, through his correspondence with William Johnson Temple. In evaluation Boswell's performance as Laird of Auchinleck, John Strawhorn documents his efforts to improve the estate by use of new agricultural methods. The essays in Part II study aspects of Boswell's artistry in Life of Johnson, the magnum opus that set a standard for biography. Carey McIntosh examines Boswell's use of rhetoric, and William P. Yarrow offers a close scrutiny of metaphor. Isobel Grundy invokes Virginia Woolf in demonstrating Boswell's acceptance of uncertainty as a biographer. John B. Radner reveals Boswell's self-assertive strategies in his visit with Johnson at Ashbourne in September 1777, and, finally, Lustig examines as a "subplot" of the biography Johnson's patient efforts to win the friendship of Margaret Montgomerie Boswell. An appendix by Hitoshi Suwabe serves scholars by providing the most exact account to date of Boswell's meetings with Johnson.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Lustig's collection of essays successfully supports the claims that Boswell's Life of Johnson is more than a memory. As conscious artistry, it is a noble creation that evolves from the James Boswell who was a citizen of the world, a man of letters, and a product of the Enlightenment." — Albion

"These essays set the standard against which future examinations of Boswell's prose should be measured." — British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Library Journal
Commemorating the bicentennial of James Boswell's death, Lustig, an editor of the Yale Editions of the Private Papers of James Boswell (McGraw. o.p.), brings together 11 original essays by leading 18th-century scholars. The first six situate Boswell in the Enlightenment, examining his exposure to its major figures and ideas, especially on religion, art, and politics. They also attempt to assess their influence on his life as a writer, lawyer, and landlord. The remaining five essays focus specifically on the Life of Johnson and the role of the Enlightenment in shaping Boswell's artistry. In the spirit of Johnson and Boswell, the essays in this collection are sophisticated and articulate yet lucidly accessible. A delight to read and a valuable contribution both to literary scholars and historians of the period.-T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong State Coll., Savannah, Ga.
Eleven essays by 18th-century scholars commemorate the bicentenary of Boswell's death in May 1795, illuminating the life and work of this important literary figure. Essays examining Boswell as a "citizen of the world" are paired with those analyzing his artistic skills; the focus is on the influence of the Enlightenment on his personal development and aspects of his artistry in the Life of Johnson, the magnum opus that set a standard for biography. An appendix provides an account of his meetings with Johnson. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813192765
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 11/1/2009
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Cue Titles and Abbreviations
Introduction 1
Boswell's Travels through the German, Swiss, and French Enlightenment 13
Boswell's Response to the European Landscape 37
"Something that Put Me in Mind of My Father": Boswell and Lord Kames 64
James Boswell, Henry Dundas, and Enlightened Politics 87
Politics in the Boswell-Temple Correspondence 101
Master of Ulubrae: Boswell as Enlightened Laird 117
Rhetoric and Runts: Boswell's Artistry 137
"Casts a Kind of Glory Round It": Metaphor and the Life of Johnson 158
"Over Him We Hang Vibrating": Uncertainty in the Life of Johnson 184
Pilgrimage and Autonomy: The Visit to Ashbourne 203
"My Dear Enemy": Margaret Montgomerie Boswell in the Life of Johnson 228
Appendix: Boswell's Meetings with Johnson, A New Count 246
Index 259
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