Friendships Across Ages
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Friendships Across Ages : Johnson & Boswell; Holmes & Laski

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Friendships Across Ages: Johnson & Boswell; Holmes & Laski considers each man and goes on to compare two unlikely, but pivotal, friendships. Through their writing and publishing, young Boswell and Laski both served their much older friends, Johnson and Holmes respectively, in brilliant fashion. Boswell's biography preserves Johnson for the present day reader as richly as any other biography has ever done. Though less commonly acknowledged, Laski preserves Holmes in a similar fashion. If Johnson's fame lies largely not on his prolific literary efforts, but rather on his persona as captured by his exchanges with Boswell, then Holmes's place in history, too, cannot be placed solely or even primarily on his prolific professional legal writing and opinions, but more broadly on his persona, captured best in his lengthy correspondence with Laski. Both Boswell and Laski were outcasts from the societies in which they lived: the former a Scot, the latter a Jew. Both were, and continue to be, scorned: Laski as a boastful, prevaricating self-promoter, Boswell as a buffoon, lecher, and drunk. However, each managed to befriend a much older man, a great man of his age, and carried on for twenty years an historically important relationship that was partly junior to mentor, partly son to father, but mostly stimulating mind to stimulating mind.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 202 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 408.23g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739120344
  • 9780739120347

Review quote

The O'Connells observe and compare two extraordinary relationships formed by wise elders with young admirers: are they paternal or fraternal or merely intellectual companionship? I am not sure, but it was entertaining to speculate. -- Paul Carrington, Duke University Law School In the spirit of Plutarch'sParallel Lives, this witty and perceptive book delights by its analogies and contrasts between the two sophisticated and opinionated seers and their two gifted and resourceful juniors. -- John T. Noonan Jr., Senior Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Friendships across Ages is, on the whole, an entertaining and enlightening read...That said, Jeffrey O'Connell and Thomas E. O'Connell should be commended for their willingness to approach these literary and legal relationships from a unique perspective. Given the centrality of close, almost familial, relationships to this book, it is particularly fitting that it is authored by two brothers. -- 5/29/08, Brett W. Curry, Georgia Southern University Journal of Law & Politics It was an inspired decision to compare Boswell-Johnson with Laski-Holmes, great and important friendships that live in the prose of Boswell's Life of Johnson and in the Holmes-Laski letters. Samuel Johnson was central to the mind of England during the second half of the eighteenth century; Holmes central to the American mind during the second part of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth. Jeffrey and Thomas O'Connell bring all of this forward in their indispensable book. -- Jeffrey Hart, Dartmouth Collegeshow more

About Jeffrey O'Connell

Jeffrey O'Connell is the Samuel H. McCoy, II Professor of Law at the University of Virginia. Thomas E. O'Connell is professor and former president at Bellevue (Washington) Community College.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: The Friends and Their Friendships Chapter 2 Chapter 1. From Doctor Johnson to Justice Holmes to Professor Laski Chapter 3 Chapter 2. Johnson Chapter 4 Chapter 3. Boswell Chapter 5 Chapter 4. Holmes Chapter 6 Chapter 5. Laski Chapter 7 Chapter 6. Fathers and Females Chapter 8 Chapter 7. The Olympians Compared Chapter 9 Chapter 8. The Outsiders Comparedshow more