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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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"...An elegant study of currents and of undercurrents in the travellers' separate accounts of their journey to the Western Islands. Reading this book, we realize better than before what Johnson and Boswell, separately and together, were so passionately in quest of...be grateful for the imaginative light [the book] throws on the mythic-seeming journey and on those mythic-seeming voyagers whose travels still haunt some of our waking dreams."--The Albion