Reconsidering Biography: Contexts, Controversies, and Sir John Hawkin's Life of Johnson

Overview

As part of the Samuel Johnson tercentenary commemoration, the University of Georgia Press published the first full scholarly edition of Sir John Hawkins?s Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (1787). From its inception, Hawkins?s work, arising from a close relationship with Johnson that spanned over forty-five years, challenged certain adulatory views of Johnson and has continued to raise interesting critical questions about both Johnsonian biography and the genre of biography generally. Reconsidering Biography collects...
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Reconsidering Biography: Contexts, Controversies, and Sir John Hawkin's Life of Johnson

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Overview

As part of the Samuel Johnson tercentenary commemoration, the University of Georgia Press published the first full scholarly edition of Sir John Hawkins’s Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (1787). From its inception, Hawkins’s work, arising from a close relationship with Johnson that spanned over forty-five years, challenged certain adulatory views of Johnson and has continued to raise interesting critical questions about both Johnsonian biography and the genre of biography generally. Reconsidering Biography collects new essays that explore Hawkins’s biography of Johnson within its historical, political, legal, and personal contexts. More particularly, this volume considers how Hawkins’s approach to recording the Life of Johnson opens up broader questions about early modern biography and its relationship with eighteenth-century trends in aesthetics, politics, and historiography. These sophisticated and informed essays on a curious and often vexed friendship, and its literary offspring, supply a colorful and expansive view of the role of life-writing in the eighteenth-century literary imagination.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Though James Boswell is the most famous of Samuel Johnson's biographers, he was not the first; the honor of writing the first full-length biography belongs to Sir John Hawkins, whose Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. appeared in 1787. But Boswell succeeded in drawing the all limelight, and Hawkins's life of Johnson had not been published unabridged since the 18th century. That changed in 2009, when O M Brack's magisterial edition of The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (CH, Feb'10, 47-3021) promised to inaugurate a new era of scholarly interest in Hawkins. With the present title, that new phase has begun. This, the first-ever collection of essays on Hawkins, includes contributions from distinguished senior scholars of 18th-century British literature and explores Hawkins's theory and practice of biography, his attitude toward the poet Richard Savage, his take on Johnson's politics, and his knowledge of the law. All the contributors also argue for Hawkins's importance and do so in language accessible to every reader. Hawkins will likely remain a minority taste, and few undergraduates will consult a book such as this, but libraries serving advanced scholars should own a copy. Summing Up: Recommended.
Anthony W. Lee
Reconsidering Biography splendidly illuminates an unjustly neglected eighteenth-century literary figure, musicologist, editor, and biographer Sir John Hawkins. Martine Watson Brownley oversees a collection of essays penned by a distinguished collection of contributors who focus primarily upon Hawkins' most enduring contribution to British literature, his Life of Johnson-an important study that has been historically eclipsed by Boswell's Life of Johnson. The momentum generated by these crisp and luminous essays, in combination with the recent publication of O M Brack's critical edition of Hawkins' Life of Johnson, should stimulate a revival of critical interest in Hawkins.
CHOICE
Though James Boswell is the most famous of Samuel Johnson's biographers, he was not the first; the honor of writing the first full-length biography belongs to Sir John Hawkins, whose Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. appeared in 1787. But Boswell succeeded in drawing the all limelight, and Hawkins's life of Johnson had not been published unabridged since the 18th century. That changed in 2009, when O M Brack's magisterial edition of The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (CH, Feb'10, 47-3021) promised to inaugurate a new era of scholarly interest in Hawkins. With the present title, that new phase has begun. This, the first-ever collection of essays on Hawkins, includes contributions from distinguished senior scholars of 18th-century British literature and explores Hawkins's theory and practice of biography, his attitude toward the poet Richard Savage, his take on Johnson's politics, and his knowledge of the law. All the contributors also argue for Hawkins's importance and do so in language accessible to every reader. Hawkins will likely remain a minority taste, and few undergraduates will consult a book such as this, but libraries serving advanced scholars should own a copy. Summing Up: Recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611483833
  • Publisher: Bucknell University Press
  • Publication date: 11/16/2011
  • Pages: 196
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Martine W. Brownley is Goodrich C. White Professor of English at Emory University where she also serves as the director of the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Acknowledgements Chapter 2 Abbreviations and Short Titles Chapter 3 Introdcution: Why Hawkins? Chapter 4 Re-Assesing Sir John Hawkins's The Life of Samuel Johnson, L.L.D.: Some Reflections Part 5 Part One: Sir John Hawkins and the Developement of English Biography Chapter 6 A Rhetoric of Truth and Instruction: Hawkins's The Life of Samuel Johnson, L.L.D., and Eighteenth-Century Biographical Practice Chapter 7 Hawkins and Biography as a Genre Chapter 8 Hawkin's The Life of Samuel Johnson, L.L.D., and Modern Biographies Part 9 Part Two: Sir John Hawkins's Johnson and His Contexts Chapter 10 Sir John Hawkins on Richard Savage and the Profession of Authorship Chapter 11 From Bigotry to Genius: The Treatment of Johnson's Poltics in Hawkins's The Life of Samuel Johnson, L.L.D. 12 Hawkin's Biography, and the Law Chapter 13 Bibliography Chapter 14 Notes on Contributors
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