Life of Samuel Johnson

Life of Samuel Johnson

3.91 (2,690 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback
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Description

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

Product details

  • Paperback | 1528 pages
  • 116 x 182 x 46mm | 639.56g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 0192815377
  • 9780192815378

Review Text

Boswell tried to crash through Johnson's defences when he first met him in Mr Dilly's bookshop and had got on his nerves ('Sir, I know of no reason you should speak to me of David Garrick.') But Boswell was an 18th-century stalker and kept after him, and finally they sat down and talked. There was a silence, and Johnson said to Boswell: 'Give my your hand. I have taken a liking to you.' As moving a line as any in English letters - from a book which is a cornucopia of the humane. All our reading has lacunae. Two years ago, increasingly unsatisfied at my lack of their acquaintance, I set out to reconstruct the journey Boswell and Johnson took to the western isles of Scotland in 1773. In the preparation I read for the first time this most famous of all biographies. What seems to me special about it is the fearlessness with which Boswell also put himself on show, so that we get the biographer and the subject, a gorgeous synthesis. I have since fallen in love with smelly, overbearing, half-blind, asthmatic, tender, wise, dear Johnson - and I even quite like gossipy, pox-ridden, social-climbing Boswell. Review by Frank Delaney, whose books include 'The Sins of the Mothers (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

2,690 ratings
3.91 out of 5 stars
5 36% (978)
4 33% (875)
3 20% (549)
2 7% (194)
1 3% (94)
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