A Life of James Boswell


by: Mr. Peter Martin
Format: Hardcover

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James Boswell (1740-1795), author of The Life of Samuel Johnson, remains one of the more celebrated biographers in modern literary history. In his monumental A Life of James Boswell, Peter Martin takes on the formidable task of writing the biographer's biography--of telling the story of a man whose numerous journals are renowned for their vivid evocation of his life and times. Martin's account is meticulous, dividing Boswell's Life into four discrete periods: "Journey to the Promised Land 1740-1763," "Travel and Marriage 1763-1769," "Stagnation: the Middle Years 1769-1782," and "Biographer and Laird of Auchinleck: Triumph and Despair 1782-1795." This broad-brush approach has the advantage of bringing some coherence to Boswell's complicated, often frenetic life: the dismal relationship with his family, and his early resistance to a career in law; the studies in London and Utrecht; the meetings with Rousseau and Voltaire, and his powerful friendship with Johnson; his salacious sexuality and fits of morbid depression; his passion for literary London. But, somehow, the vibrancy and intellectual fervor of Boswell's career fails to come through. The scope of this biography is remarkable, but its sheer wealth of detail--sometimes disconnected, and often recounted without comment or analysis--works to obscure the psychological, cultural, and political impact of Boswell's life and works. --Vicky Lebeau


Product Code: 9780300084894
ISBN: 0300084897
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: 2000-09-10
Number of Pages: 624 pages
Languages: english
Edition: 1St Edition
Dimension: 6.18 x 1.89 x 9.21 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.45 pounds