The Life of Samuel Johnson (Penguin Classics)

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9780140431162: The Life of Samuel Johnson (Penguin Classics)

The most celebrated English biography is a group portrait in which extraordinary man paints the picture of a dozen more

At the centre of a brilliant circle which included Burke, Reynolds, Garrick, Fanny Burney and even George III, Boswell captures the powerful, troubled and witty figure of Samuel Johnson, who towers above them all. Yet this is also an intimate picture of domestic life, which mingles the greatest talkers of a talkative age with the hero's humbler friends in a picture which is, before all things, humane.

As a young man about London, James Boswell was obsessed by literature, and, on a fateful day in 1763, he attached himself with unswerving tenacity to the dominant literary figure of his age—the splendidly rotund, articulate, and humane Dr Samuel Johnson. What followed was the most famous of friendships between writers and the bais for the remarkable documentation contained in Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, the greatest and most compelling of all biographies.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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Review:

James Boswell is for some the ideal scribe, for others a sycophantic toady. Edmund Wilson memorably labeled him "a vain and pushing diarist." Boswell can even be seen as someone unconsciously intent on undermining his idol in sonorous, balanced sentences. Early on in his massive Life, he puts all manner of ideas into our heads with his boobish attempts to clear the youthful Johnson of potential impropriety: "His juvenile attachments to the fair sex were, however, very transient; and it is certain that he formed no criminal connection whatsoever." And while it's often tempting to ignore Boswell's more personal intrusions and delight solely in the melancholic master's words and deeds, there are delightful admissions as, "I was at this time so occupied, shall I call it? or so dissipated, by the amusements of London that our next meeting was not till Saturday, June 25..."

Samuel Johnson was born in 1709 and died in 1784--a long life, though one marred by depression and fear of death. On April 20, 1764, for example, he declared, "I would consent to have a limb amputated to recover my spirits." Many of the quotes Boswell includes are a sort of greatest hits: Johnson's definitions of oats and lexicographer, his love for his cat Hodge, as well as thousands of bon, and mal, mots. ("Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel"; "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are surprized to find it done at all.") But there are also many unfamiliar pleasures--Boswell's accounts of Johnson's literary industry, including the Dictionary, The Rambler and Lives of the Poets; Johnson's singular loathing for Scotland and France; and the surprising hints of revelry. Awakened at 3 AM by friends, he greets them with, "What, is it you, you dogs! I'll have a frisk with you." This at age 42. Johnson's final years were marked by pain and loneliness but certainly no loss of wit.

From the Back Cover:

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 marvelously vivacious Journals he wrote daily furnished him with first-rate material when he came to write his biography.

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Descripción Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 1979. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Abridged edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. In Boswell s Life of Samuel Johnson , one of the towering figures of English literature is revealed with unparalleled immediacy and originality. While Johnson s Dictionary remains a monument of scholarship, and his essays and criticism command continuing respect, we owe our knowledge of the man himself to this biography. Through a series of wonderfully detailed anecdotes, Johnson emerges as a sociable figure with a huge appetite for life, crossing swords with other great eighteenth-century luminaries, from Garrick and Goldsmith to Burney and Burke - even his long-suffering friend and disciple James Boswell.Yet Johnson had a vulnerable, even tragic, side and anxieties and obsessions haunted his private hours. Boswell s sensitivity and insight into every facet of his subject s character ultimately make this biography as moving as it is entertaining. Based on the 1799 edition, Christopher Hibbert s abridgement preserves the integrity of the original, while his fascinating introduction sets Boswell s view of Samuel Johnson against that of others of the time. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780140431162

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Descripción Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 1979. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Abridged edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. In Boswell s Life of Samuel Johnson , one of the towering figures of English literature is revealed with unparalleled immediacy and originality. While Johnson s Dictionary remains a monument of scholarship, and his essays and criticism command continuing respect, we owe our knowledge of the man himself to this biography. Through a series of wonderfully detailed anecdotes, Johnson emerges as a sociable figure with a huge appetite for life, crossing swords with other great eighteenth-century luminaries, from Garrick and Goldsmith to Burney and Burke - even his long-suffering friend and disciple James Boswell.Yet Johnson had a vulnerable, even tragic, side and anxieties and obsessions haunted his private hours. Boswell s sensitivity and insight into every facet of his subject s character ultimately make this biography as moving as it is entertaining. Based on the 1799 edition, Christopher Hibbert s abridgement preserves the integrity of the original, while his fascinating introduction sets Boswell s view of Samuel Johnson against that of others of the time. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780140431162

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Descripción Penguin Classics, 1979. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería 0140431160

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Descripción Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 1979. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Abridged edition. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. In Boswell s Life of Samuel Johnson , one of the towering figures of English literature is revealed with unparalleled immediacy and originality. While Johnson s Dictionary remains a monument of scholarship, and his essays and criticism command continuing respect, we owe our knowledge of the man himself to this biography. Through a series of wonderfully detailed anecdotes, Johnson emerges as a sociable figure with a huge appetite for life, crossing swords with other great eighteenth-century luminaries, from Garrick and Goldsmith to Burney and Burke - even his long-suffering friend and disciple James Boswell.Yet Johnson had a vulnerable, even tragic, side and anxieties and obsessions haunted his private hours. Boswell s sensitivity and insight into every facet of his subject s character ultimately make this biography as moving as it is entertaining. Based on the 1799 edition, Christopher Hibbert s abridgement preserves the integrity of the original, while his fascinating introduction sets Boswell s view of Samuel Johnson against that of others of the time. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780140431162

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