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Boswell's Presumptuous Task: the Making of the Life of Dr. Johnson

by Sisman, Adam

  • ISBN: 9780374115616
  • ISBN10: 0374115613

Boswell's Presumptuous Task: the Making of the Life of Dr. Johnson

by Sisman, Adam

  • List Price: $25.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
  • Publish date: 08/01/2001
  • ISBN: 9780374115616
  • ISBN10: 0374115613
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Description: A heroic, brilliantly detailed portrait of the biographer as artist.

James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson is the most celebrated of all biographies, acknowledged as one of the greatest and most entertaining books in the English language. Yet Boswell himself was regarded by his contemporaries as a man of no judgment and condemned by posterity as a lecher and a drunk. How could such a fool have written such a book?

Boswell's "presumptuous task" was his biography of Johnson. Adam Sisman traces the friendship between Boswell and his great mentor, one of the most unlikely pairings in literature, and provides a fascinating and original account of Boswell's seven-year struggle to write the Life following Johnson's death in 1784. At the time, Boswell was trying -- and failing -- to make his mark in the world: desperate for money; debilitated by drink; torn between his duties at home and the lure of London; tormented by rival biographers; often embarrassed, humiliated and depressed. Boswell's Presumptuous Task shows movingly how a man who failed in almost everything else produced a masterpiece.

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pp. 400. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2001. First edition. 351 pages. Cloth, near fine copy in near fine dust jacket in a mylar protector.
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First American edition. Octavo. 351pp. Fine in fine dustwrapper. Biography of Samuel Johnson.
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