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Samuel Johnson: A Biography Paperback – August 18, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 668 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint (August 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582435243
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582435244
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 9 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


“Perhaps the supreme virtue of Bate’s book is that it makes us comprehend how little we have known Johnson and how much he has to offer those who, like himself, seek ‘the consolation of biography.’” —San Francisco Chronicle

“In such depths of pain and courage—which Bate describes so well—we find Johnson’s enduring achievements.” —New York Times Book Review

“No other biographer of Johnson has meditated so profitably on the qualities that made him ‘a heroic, intensely honest, and articulate pilgrim in the strange adventure of human life.’” —Time

“Clearly the best modern life of Johnson . . . Bate’s empathy is so convincing that one has the uncanny illusion of experiencing Johnson’s struggles inside his skin.” —Newsweek

“What Prof. Bate has done is to restore the whole Johnson, the very human, very admirable man behind the monument.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D.S.Thurlow TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
W. Jackson Bate's highly praised "Samuel Johnson: A Biography" is in its fourth edition since first publication in 1975. Its 600+ pages constitute an exhaustive and very nearly definitive biography of the great journalist, poet, author, moralist, literary critic, political commentator, and lexicographer of late 18th Century England.

Bate examines in great detail Johnson's challenging life for the basis and context of his astonishing literary skills, great sense of morality, and perhaps greater sense of humanity. Bate begins with Johnson's difficult childhood and proceeds through his checkered attendance at school, his lifelong struggle to make a living, and his bouts with persistent poverty, mental depression and physical ill-health, to his final years as the grand old man of his literary world.

Along the way, Bate carefully explores the development, and the nuances, of Johnson's religious, political, and moral views, and of course of his relationships with his many famous and infamous friends, including his biographer Boswell. While Bate purposely emphasizes biography over literary criticism, he must and does address Johnson's prodigous output. The resulting narrative is a detailed portrait of a complex and fascinating man, made wiser and more understanding of his world by his difficult passage through it. The book includes a nice selection of prints and portraits. Bate does not address the recent, posthumous diagnosis that Johnson may have suffered from Tourette's Syndrome, which could account for his distracting physical mannerisms.

"Samuel Johnson: A Biography" is very highly recommended to students of the life and times of a great man.
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By Ripe Peach on October 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not as complete as Boswell, but a great read after you read Boswell. Not enough information on his tics and peculiarities. I would have liked to have his opinion on whether or not he had Tourette syndrome. Very readable and well researched.
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By david norris on September 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like it!!!! AAAA++++ seller!!
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