The Life Of Samuel Johnson

( 4 )

Overview

Poet, lexicographer, critic, moralist and Great Cham, Dr. Johnson had in his friend Boswell the ideal biograoher.

Notoriously and self-confessedly intemperate, Boswell shared with Johnson a huge appetite for life and threw equal energy into recording its every aspect in minute but telling detail. This irrepressible Scotsman was 'always studying human nature and making experiments', and the marvellously vivacious Journals he wrote daily ...

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The Life of Samuel Johnson

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Overview

Poet, lexicographer, critic, moralist and Great Cham, Dr. Johnson had in his friend Boswell the ideal biograoher.

Notoriously and self-confessedly intemperate, Boswell shared with Johnson a huge appetite for life and threw equal energy into recording its every aspect in minute but telling detail. This irrepressible Scotsman was 'always studying human nature and making experiments', and the marvellously vivacious Journals he wrote daily furnished him with first-rate material when he came to write his biography.

THe result is a masterpiece that brims over with wit, anecdote and originality. Hailed by Macaulay as the best biography ever written and by Carlyle as a book 'beyond any other product of the eighteenth century', The Life of Samuel Johnson today continues to enjoy its status as a classic of the language.

This shortened version is based on the 1799 edition, the last in which the author had a hand.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781175680402
  • Publisher: Nabu Press
  • Publication date: 8/18/2011
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 0.92 (w) x 7.44 (h) x 9.69 (d)

Meet the Author

James Boswell (1740—1795) was a lawyer, diarist, and author, best known as the biographer of Samuel Johnson.

David Womersley is the Thomas Warton Professor of English at Oxford and the editor of the Penguin Classics edition of Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2000

    Information Overload

    In college, I had the pleasure of spending an entire semester studying Samuel Johnson. During the course of this semester, I managed to work my through the entirety of Boswell's Life of Johnson, due mainly to a strict regimen of daily readings. Despite sickness and the claims of college life, I made it all the way through, cover to cover. No one else in the class did the same. Interestingly, I found myself to be the only one in the class who didn't enjoy the book. Perhaps this is because Boswell's biography is not meant to be read like a novel, but rather noted as an historical document. Unfortunately, it falls short even as that. Boswell's Life of Johnson is an ambitious, almost epic chronicling of the minutiae of only that portion of Johnson's life spent with Boswell. Almost no information is given about Johnson's life before 40, and every word spoken by the man is treated by the author as if it were manna from heaven. Boswell's jealousy of Johnson's other friends, most notably Hester Thrale, the woman who released her own biography of Johnson before Boswell's was completed, causes one to doubt at times the author's commitment to the truth. Impressive as the book's detail might be, it amounts to little more than a camera-acurate portrayal of one man's dinner parties. As primary source material for some other, more gifted biographer, however, there is no book more useful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2014

    The First Literary Biography

    This biography is a masterpiece in and of itself. It was the most thorough tracing of a man's life that I have ever read. It covers the years that Boswell knew him in the most detail. The exchanges with Boswell and Johnson are the high point. However, throughout most of the text Boswell intentionally antagonizes Dr. Johnson in order to gather his views on a variety of subjects. If you are a fan of the history of English, or a great biography then you will enjoy this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2013

    Bad google books ocr

    Dont bother. Pay at least .99 for something readable.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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