Peter Martin Samuel Johnson: A Biography

ISBN 13: 9780674057371

Samuel Johnson: A Biography

3.93 avg rating
( 41 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780674057371: Samuel Johnson: A Biography

Bewigged, muscular and for his day unusually tall, adorned in soiled, rumpled clothes, beset by involuntary tics, opinionated, powered in his conversation by a prodigious memory and intellect, Samuel Johnson (1709–1784) was in his life a literary and social icon as no other age has produced. “Johnsonianissimus,” as Boswell called him, became in the hands of his first biographers the rationalist epitome and sage of Enlightenment. These clichés―though they contain elements of truth―distort the complexity of the public and private Johnson. Peter Martin portrays a Johnson wracked by recriminations, self-doubt, and depression―a man whose religious faith seems only to have deepened his fears. His essays, scholarship, biography, journalism, travel writing, sermons, fables, as well as other forms of prose and poetry in which he probed himself and the world around him, Martin shows, constituted rational triumphs against despair and depression. It is precisely the combination of enormous intelligence and frank personal weakness that makes Johnson’s writing so compelling.

Benefiting from recent critical scholarship that has explored new attitudes toward Johnson, Martin’s biography gives us a human and sympathetic portrait of Dr. Johnson. Johnson’s criticism of colonial expansion, his advocacy for the abolition of slavery, his encouragement of women writers, his treatment of his female friends as equals, and his concern for the underprivileged and poor make him a very “modern” figure. The Johnson that emerges from this enthralling biography, published for the tercentenary of Johnson’s birth, is still the foremost figure of his age but a more rebellious, unpredictable, flawed, and sympathetic figure than has been previously known.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Peter Martin has taught English literature on both sides of the Atlantic and is the author of A Life of James Boswell.

Review:

Modern biographers are aware of the competition. They have to write a first-rate book about Johnson or hear from critics that they’ve foolishly entered the wrong league. And a number of scholars, notably Paul Fussell and W. Jackson Bate, have given us remarkable portraits. They’re now joined by Peter Martin, whose Samuel Johnson: A Biography is a model of its kind: a deeply felt, beautifully written account of a personality about whom we cannot know enough. (George Sim Johnston Wall Street Journal 2008-09-18)

A lively new biography, a book well seasoned with good stories, most of which do not seek always to show the Doctor in a better light... Martin is sympathetic to Johnson and equally sympathetic to the truth about him. He has hitherto written excellent biographies of both Boswell and Edmond Malone―two of the Doctor’s brightest satellites―and he turns to Johnson with a strong and nuanced sense of how he was, as much as anything, the figment of a great many busy pens, not least his own. (Andrew O’Hagan New York Review of Books 2009-10-08)

Martin brings alive with novelistic detail such famous scenes as Johnson’s youthful ride to London to be touched by Queen Anne for ‘the king’s evil’―scrofula, which was believed to be curable by a touch from royalty; his public rejection of the Earl of Chesterfield’s 11th-hour patronage of his dictionary; and the actor David Garrick’s keyhole spying on (and later parody of) Johnson’s amorous pursuit of Mrs. Johnson. For a man who bragged and twitched and stank, Johnson had a lot of friends, and Martin superintends them like a film director: poet Charlotte Lennox, painter Joshua Reynolds, novelist Fanny Burney and, of course, future laird and biographer James Boswell. (Michael Sims Washington Post Book World 2008-12-21)

Martin has spent a lifetime steeped in Johnson’s world, having written definitive biographies of Boswell and of Edmond Malone, the Irish Shakespearean scholar without whose help the unstable Boswell might never have finished his massive biography... As a character, Johnson turns out to be not only funny and wildly eccentric―as we always knew he was―but deeply poignant. I was moved to tears by Martin’s biography. (Brooke Allen Wilson Quarterly 2008-12-01)

[An] outstanding new biography. (Christopher Hitchens The Atlantic 2009-03-01)

A fetching new version of the life of Samuel Johnson. (Julia Keller Chicago Tribune 2008-10-19)

The story is well told, quotations from Boswell and Johnson are frequent and judicious, the anecdotes (familiar to some) are enlivening, and a picture of the fierce, complicated, manically eccentric genius emerges that will provoke admiration and wonder. (Rex Murphy Globe and Mail 2009-02-21)

[Martin] is a literary conduit, bringing Johnson from the 18th-century English Tory world of letters down to the modern reader... [He is] an author who writes with an eloquent propinquity, a delightful sense of companionship, about a figure otherwise clouded in antiquity... He shows why the man is still so influential and―important this―still read. (Michael Coren National Post 2009-09-19)

[Samuel Johnson] will give readers a good sense of this extraordinary individual. For those who already know a fair bit about the subject, Martin will fill out the picture more amply. (Pat Rogers New Criterion 2009-06-01)

Martin offers a convincing psychological study. (Leah Price New York Times Book Review 2009-02-01)

[Martin] writes with an eloquent propinquity, a delightful sense of companionship, about a figure otherwise clouded in antiquity. Martin is strikingly good...on Johnson’s literary achievement. He shows why the man is still so influential and―important this―still read. (Michael Coren Ottawa Citizen 2009-10-11)

Meticulously researched and well written. (James Srodes Washington Times 2009-01-25)

As author also of A Life of James Boswell, Martin knows the territory and obviously enjoys it... The tercentenary of the birth of so large a figure is more than enough reason for new perspectives, and Martin’s work is worthwhile. (G. Shivel Choice 2009-07-01)

Few writers can approach Johnson (1709–84) more surely than Martin, biographer of the Great Man’s own famous biographer (A Life of James Boswell)... From the ordinary clay of words, Martin sculpts an impressive image of an extraordinary man. (Kirkus Reviews 2008-07-01)

Martin’s book emphasizes aspects of Johnson not covered by any previously published biographies―including excellent ones by W. Jackson Bate, James L. Clifford, John Wain, and, of course, James Boswell―notably Johnson’s deep depressions; his liberal views on women writers, slavery, and poverty (he was not the complete Tory that others have painted him); and Johnson as a writer whose works deserve to be better known by the general public... Written in an engaging manner and featuring many quotations from Johnson and his friends and acquaintances, this new portrait of a complex, multifaceted writer and thinker is highly recommended. (Morris Hounion Library Journal 2008-09-01)

Samuel Johnson (1709–1784) remains one of the most-quoted and carefully observed authors who ever lived. On the occasion of Johnson’s tercentenary, Martin searches out the psychological elements covered up by Boswell and others: the immense insecurities, bouts of deep depression, corrosive self-doubt and, in his last days, despair for his very soul... Martin admirably succeeds in giving a new generation Dr. Johnson, warts and all, from the inside. (Publishers Weekly 2008-07-21)

Peter Martin’s biography of Samuel Johnson is a profoundly poignant and eloquent account of the Western world’s greatest literary critic. It is superior even to Martin’s valuable biography of Boswell. (Harold Bloom)

As Johnson’s three hundredth birthday approaches, the time is ripe for a new biography that takes into account all we have learned about Johnson in this century and the later years of the last. Martin knows and tells. The result is a highly readable, deeply informed book that should find a broad and appreciative audience. (Robert Folkenflik, University of California, Irvine)

Building on his previous work on James Boswell, Samuel Johnson’s most celebrated biographer, Peter Martin has written a humane, coherent and accessible life of the great eighteenth-century polymath, deftly and sympathetically exploring his personal relationships and psyche while also locating him in the literary culture of his age. (Henry Hitchings, author of Dr Johnson’s Dictionary: The Extraordinary Story of the Book that Defined the World)

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Martin, Peter
ISBN 10: 0674057376 ISBN 13: 9780674057371
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2010. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # TH-9780674057371

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 15.07
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

MARTIN
Published by Harvard University Press
ISBN 10: 0674057376 ISBN 13: 9780674057371
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard University Press. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0674057376

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 15.89
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Peter Martin
Published by HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States (2010)
ISBN 10: 0674057376 ISBN 13: 9780674057371
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Bewigged, muscular and for his day unusually tall, adorned in soiled, rumpled clothes, beset by involuntary tics, opinionated, powered in his conversation by a prodigious memory and intellect, Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was in his life a literary and social icon as no other age has produced. Johnsonianissimus, as Boswell called him, became in the hands of his first biographers the rationalist epitome and sage of Enlightenment. These cliches - though they contain elements of truth - distort the complexity of the public and private Johnson. Peter Martin portrays a Johnson wracked by recriminations, self-doubt, and depression - a man whose religious faith seems only to have deepened his fears. His essays, scholarship, biography, journalism, travel writing, sermons, fables, as well as other forms of prose and poetry in which he probed himself and the world around him, Martin shows, constituted rational triumphs against despair and depression. It is precisely the combination of enormous intelligence and frank personal weakness that makes Johnson s writing so compelling. Benefiting from recent critical scholarship that has explored new attitudes toward Johnson, Martin s biography gives us a human and sympathetic portrait of Dr. Johnson. Johnson s criticism of colonial expansion, his advocacy for the abolition of slavery, his encouragement of women writers, his treatment of his female friends as equals, and his concern for the underprivileged and poor make him a very modern figure. The Johnson that emerges from this enthralling biography, published for the tercentenary of Johnson s birth, is still the foremost figure of his age but a more rebellious, unpredictable, flawed, and sympathetic figure than has been previously known. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780674057371

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 21.48
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Martin, Peter
Published by Harvard Univ Press
ISBN 10: 0674057376 ISBN 13: 9780674057371
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard Univ Press. Book Condition: BRAND NEW. BRAND NEW Softcover A Brand New Quality Book from a Full-Time Bookshop in business since 1992!. Bookseller Inventory # 2364114

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 24.94
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Martin, P
Published by Harvard University Press (2010)
ISBN 10: 0674057376 ISBN 13: 9780674057371
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Aardvark Rare Books
(Bucknell, SHROP, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard University Press, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000208378

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 16.87
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 10.52
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Peter Martin
Published by Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2010)
ISBN 10: 0674057376 ISBN 13: 9780674057371
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0674057376

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 29.99
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Martin, Peter
Published by Belknap Press (2010)
ISBN 10: 0674057376 ISBN 13: 9780674057371
New Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Belknap Press, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110674057376

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 44.09
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 1.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Martin, Peter
Published by Belknap Pr (2010)
ISBN 10: 0674057376 ISBN 13: 9780674057371
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Revaluation Books
(Exeter, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Belknap Pr, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 608 pages. 9.00x5.75x1.50 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # 0674057376

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 46.01
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.89
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Peter Martin
ISBN 10: 0674057376 ISBN 13: 9780674057371
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
AussieBookSeller
(SILVERWATER, NSW, Australia)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. Bewigged, muscular and for his day unusually tall, adorned in soiled, rumpled clothes, beset by involuntary tics, opinionated, powered in his conversation by a prodigious memo.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 640 pages. 0.794. Bookseller Inventory # 9780674057371

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 27.79
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 37.00
From Australia to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Martin, Peter
Published by Belknap Press
ISBN 10: 0674057376 ISBN 13: 9780674057371
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Cloud 9 Books
(Wellington, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Belknap Press. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0674057376 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1188723

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 59.99
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds