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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 is the seminal work for Boswell, "his life of Samuel Johnson. It was the very first true biography written by someone who lived with the subject, and knew him over a... Read morePublished 1 month ago by D. J. Singer
Every one should read this book I read it in college and missed being able to do so until I found this hardback edition. It's almost an instruction on how to live honorably. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mary K.
A must read I finally got around to plunging into. What an incredible autodidact Johnson was.Published 7 months ago by Bernhard A. Asen
I should have read this as a university class assignment back in 1965, but did not because of other course demands. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Michael B.
This book is just too full of trivial information about Johnson and Boswell to make it a good read for a busy person. If I were a Johnson scholar it would be worth more to me. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Harold W Thompson