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Life of Johnson (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – Unabridged, August 1, 2008
"My Father, the Pornographer" by Fang Lizhi
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About the Author
Pat Rogers is DeBartolo Professor in the Liberal Arts at the University of South Florida.
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Top Customer Reviews
Samuel Johnson was already an established man of letters, his period of greatest productivity behind him, when he met the itinerant Scottish laird-to-be James Boswell. A somewhat toadying social striver who had trouble living up to his high moral code, Boswell took to Johnson as a kind of rock upon which to build an edifice for life as it should be lived. Boswell's biography soaks up Johnson's conversation, casual and otherwise, as well as experiences shared by the two men. Through it all, Johnson emerges as a magnetic, vital, yet very human avatar for a worldly yet Christian life.
Never mind that neither man was all that, something Boswell quietly allows both in his own commentary and in some of the many quotes he offers from Johnson.
"Because a man cannot be right in all things, is he to be right in nothing?" Johnson asks. "Because a man sometimes gets drunk, it he therefore to steal?"
I can identify with this sense of ethical compromise. Decades ago I wrote my college thesis on this book, and for years felt guilty that I had used the abridged version. I never read the unabridged version, but for years carried one around like Sisyphus. Finally I read it, just finishing it today after over a month. It's a huge time investment, and often tedious. The abridged version, by contrast, is like a greatest-hits collection; you get Johnson's best quotes and the most vital episodes with Boswell.Read more ›