Designing the Life of Johnson: The Lyell Lectures, 2001-2

Hardcover | June 12, 2003

byBruce Redford

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For over two centuries Boswell's massive biography of Samuel Johnson has been both reverenced and reviled. Yet neither its admirers nor its critics have fully understood how the book was designed to work upon them. Boswell himself is partly to blame: throughout the Life he directs attentionaway from artistry to industry, from creative choices to dedicated researches. Yet his working manuscript, one of the twentieth century's greatest literary discoveries, tells a much different tale. Designing the Life of Johnson, the first study of its kind, reconstructs Boswell's models and methodsby charting this textual labyrinth. It begins by analysing the stages that led to the first edition, goes on to reveal the impact of portrait and theatre-piece upon the structure of the Life, and ends by uncovering the transformation of Johnson from savage into sage. The result is a more subtle,more vital assessment of Boswell the designer - and an enhanced awareness of biography's power to make life into art.

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For over two centuries Boswell's massive biography of Samuel Johnson has been both reverenced and reviled. Yet neither its admirers nor its critics have fully understood how the book was designed to work upon them. Boswell himself is partly to blame: throughout the Life he directs attentionaway from artistry to industry, from creative ...

Editor of the OUP/Princeton UP 5-volume edition of the Letters of Samuel Johnson, 1992-4; now editor of the Yale UP/Edinburgh UP edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson: An Edition of the Original Manuscript (vol. 2)

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:198 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.8 inPublished:June 12, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198187394

ISBN - 13:9780198187394

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Table of Contents

Cue Titles and Textual NoteIntroduction1. Imprinting Johnson2. Representing Johnson3. Dramatizing Johnson4. Transmitting Johnson5. Taming JohnsonSelect BibliographyIndex