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A Life of James Boswell

Martin, Peter

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ISBN 10: 0297818090 / ISBN 13: 9780297818090
Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Hunt For Books (Blackburn, United Kingdom)

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A Life of James Boswell by Peter Martin. 1999. Hardback. UK first edition, first printing. Book and jacket in very good condition. Jacket has not been price clipped, states £25. Jacket has nick to front top right hand corner. Clean throughout. A heavy book which may require extra postage. Bookseller Inventory #HFB002315. Bookseller Inventory # 002315

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Life of James Boswell

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


This moving biography reassesses James Boswell's achievements and uncovers the breadth of his world, extending from the royal courts and drawing rooms of London to the city's unsavory underworld. Peter Martin dispels the notion that Boswell's masterly Life of Johnson was an accidental work of genius, and shows that Boswell was a writer of the highest order and a complex, troubled, but ultimately appealing man.


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

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