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.
If you have only time enough to read one book on Samuel Johnson, read Boswell's. However, this biography, by the attorney and Johnson friend John Hawkins, is well worth the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Christian Schlect
Why should you spend the time and money to read this huge biography which is over twelve hundred densely written pages?
1. Read more
James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson is often called the greatest biography of all-time and may well be. Read morePublished on April 20, 2010 by Bill R. Moore
Note: I made some immature Mormon angry because of my negative reviews of books that attempted to prove the Book of Mormon, and that person has been slamming my reviews almost as... Read morePublished on December 3, 2007 by Wanderer
The Life of Samuel Johnson is the most famous biography ever written in the English language! Its author was the Scottish lawyer James Boswell
(1740-1795). Read more
'No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money,' Samuel Johnson.
Sorry, it is a hobby.
Samuel Johnson the writer of the first comprehensive dictionary of the... Read more
I own the Penguins Classics edition but no matter. The story is wonderfully rich. Boswell really is a master story teller because at no point did the story become dry. Read morePublished on June 6, 2007 by skeptic