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The Works of James Boswell: The Life of…

The Works of James Boswell: The Life of Samuel Johnson (abridged) (original 1930; edition 1952)

by James Boswell, Bergen Evans (Introduction)

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466432,793 (3.94)6
Title:The Works of James Boswell: The Life of Samuel Johnson (abridged)
Authors:James Boswell
Other authors:Bergen Evans (Introduction)
Info:Black's Readers Service (1952), Hardback, 559 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Life of Samuel Johnson; Abridged (Modern Library) by James Boswell (1930)



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Showing 4 of 4
How charming! This is the way to read Boswell. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
Not sure this is "biography"; it is equally autobiography and existential journaling. It is completely engaging and filled with the details which bootstrap its credibility.
  keylawk | Dec 23, 2012 |
15. Everybody’s Boswell is an abridged version of the full-length biography. I like this version because you are almost immediately swept into the action of Boswell’s lively exchanges with Johnson. The first 200 pages of the full-length biography are boring hagiography which, using the 50 page rule, you would never get to the most entertaining part. In Everybody’s Boswell, you get only the introductory highlights and then comes the famous meeting and sheer pleasure follows. Also there is the additional delight of 54 full-page drawings by Ernest H Shepherd plus the Tour to the Hebrides which is not in the biography. ( )
  TheTortoise | Sep 17, 2008 |
One of the greatest biographies ever written, chock-full of more renowned anecdotes than there are chips in a chocolate-chip cookie. ( )
2 vote klg19 | Jan 24, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Boswellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Boswell, Jamesmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Hibbert, ChristopherEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To write the life of him who excelled all mankind in writing the lives of others, and who, whether we consider his extraordinary endowments, or his various works, has been equalled by few in any age, is an arduous, and may be reckoned in me a presumptous task.
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This Library Thing "work" represents various abridged editions of the author's original work. Please do not combine this work with The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., or with individual volumes of that work.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140431160, Paperback)

James Boswell is for some the ideal scribe, for others a sycophantic toady. Edmund Wilson memorably labeled him "a vain and pushing diarist." Boswell can even be seen as someone unconsciously intent on undermining his idol in sonorous, balanced sentences. Early on in his massive Life, he puts all manner of ideas into our heads with his boobish attempts to clear the youthful Johnson of potential impropriety: "His juvenile attachments to the fair sex were, however, very transient; and it is certain that he formed no criminal connection whatsoever." And while it's often tempting to ignore Boswell's more personal intrusions and delight solely in the melancholic master's words and deeds, there are delightful admissions as, "I was at this time so occupied, shall I call it? or so dissipated, by the amusements of London that our next meeting was not till Saturday, June 25..."

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:28 -0400)

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