A new edition of a broad selection of work from the master of the essay. With his wit, eloquence, and shrewd perception of contemporary morals, Samuel Johnson was the most versatile writer of the English neoclassical period. His dictionary, dramas, and poetry established his reputation, but it was the essays that demonstrated the range of his talent. This new edition presents both the forcefully argued moral pieces of Johnson's middle years and the more light-hearted essays of his later work. Tackling ethical questions, such as the importance of self-knowledge, awareness of mortality, the role of the novel, and, in a lighter vein, marriage, sleep, and deceit, these brilliant and thought-provoking essays are a mirror of the time in which they were written and a testament to Johnson's stature as the leading man of letters of his age.
Their journals, published together here, perfectly complement each other. Johnson's majestic prose and hawk eye for curious detail take in everything from the stone arrowheads found in the Hebrides, to the 'medicinal' waters of the Loch Ness and 'the mischiefs of emigration'. Meanwhile, it is very lucky that as Johnson was observing Scotland, Boswell was observing Johnson. His record is perceptive, highly entertaining and full of sardonic wit; for him, as for us, it is an appetizer for "The Life Of Johnson."
James Boswell, a contemporary of Samuel Johnson, tells the biography of his close friend. Included in this book is a chronology of Johnson's life as well as an index.
In Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, one of the towering figures of English literature is revealed with unparalleled immediacy and originality. While Johnson's Dictionary remains a monument of scholarship, and his essays and criticism command continuing respect, we owe our knowledge of the man himself to this biography. Through a series of wonderfully detailed anecdotes, Johnson emerges as a sociable figure with a huge appetite for life, crossing swords with other eighteenth century luminaries, from Garrick and Goldsmith to Burney and Burke - and even his long-suffering friend and disciple James Boswell. Yet Johnson had a vulnerable, even tragic, side, and anxieties and obsessions haunted his private hours. Boswell's sensitivity and insight into every facet of his subject's character ultimately make this biography as moving as it is entertaining.