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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, rich and alive account of an alien world.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Boswell's London Journal, 1762-1763 (Paperback)
I read this book purely for the purpose of researching the period. Nothing dry and stuffy here though - a wonderful read from beginning to end. In introduction we learn of the intriguing history of the manuscript itself - of the amazing catalogue of coincidence that discovered it intact against all odds. We then plunge back in time to find ourselves in a jarring carriage and breathing the frost with an uncomfortable night's unscheduled stop in an inn. Immediately, we are there with Boswell - his enthusiasm makes us see and feel his world and allows us to do what would be virtually impossible even today: to meet the luminaries of the time. We smell the sweat, the beer, and squirm in the presence of that cantankerous bull and king of the literati, Samuel Johnson. A marvellous read for it's freshness, as well as it's authenticity, and highly recommended by this reviewer.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both fascinating and hilarious,
This review is from: Boswell's London Journal: 1762-1763 (Paperback)
One of the best books I have read about the period. Boswell depicts 18th century London in all its finery and decadence while himself teetering between the two. On the one hand, it is a great historical work, giving us insight into a fascinating period of our history. On the other, it is the diary of a 22 year old newly arrived in London with his hormones racing and a world of temptation before him. In one day, he manages to mix in the high society of London and scour St James's Park for the prostitute with the amplest bosom. Boswell is like a real life Squire Haggard, and as such he is far more entertaining.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When a man is tired of London . . .,
This review is from: Boswell's London Journal, 1762-1763 (Yale Nota Bene) (Paperback)
`WEDNESDAY 15 JUNE. I breakfasted with Lord Eglinton We then walked in Green Park. He said I was the only man he ever knew who had a vast deal of vanity and yet was not in the least degree offensive.'
This is the 18th Century London of outrageous picaresque fantasy, except that it all happens to be true. Boswell is irresistible company, heroically insistent on putting every snobbery, low lifery, piety, lechery, imbecility, arrogance and every other contradiction of his extraordinary personality straight down on to paper with no attempt at equivocation. It helps in that he has a genius for friendship and so appears to be able to gain entrée into the lives of apparently anybody of consequence in London in any walk of life. Samuel Johnson appears midway or so through the performance in the role of deus ex machina, anticipating the central Fate of Boswell's life, but at the time he is unaware of this, as he battles to get his grail-like commission into `The Guards' - a commission which Boswell is typically forthright in admitting to his potential and high ranking sponsors that he is only interested in for the opportunities it affords of glamour, prestige, living the London high life and the distinct unlikelihood of the regiment actually becoming involved in any bothersome military action.
Despite the 22 year old's hedonistic wilfulness, the deeply moral, strong willed, religious and worldly wise literary giant Samuel Johnson perceives the true worth of the young man with the photographic memory and the genius for structuring reality who was to become his ideal amanuensis.
`FRIDAY 22 JULY. . . He [Johnson] said, `There are few people whom I take so much to as you' ; and when I talked of leaving England, he said (with an affection that almost made me cry), `My dear Boswell! I should be very unhappy at parting, did I think we were not to meet again.'
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars from the covers,
This review is from: Boswell's London journal, 1762-1763 (Yale editions of the private papers of James Boswell series) (Hardcover)
Boswell's London Journal, 1762-1763 (Yale editions of the private papers of James Boswell)
Now first published from the original manuscript, prepared for the press, with introductions and notes, by Frederick A. Pottle, (Sterling Professor of English, Yale University).
James Boswell, Frederick A. Pottle (Editor)
Format: Hardback, blue cloth, gilt lettering; 370 pages; excellent map of London, 58cm stretching across both front and back endpapers, providing period locations from Hyde Park to Whitechapel (1761).
Edition: 1950 (reprinted 1951)
Synopsis: In 1762 the 22-year-old James Boswell left Edinburgh to conquer London. His journal, published for the first time only in 1950, is an intimate and exhilarating account of the momentous nine months he spent exploring the high and low life of 18th-century London. It describes Boswell's growing friendship with the great Dr Johnson (later to be immortalized in Boswell's "Life of Samuel Johnson"), the taverns, playhouses and coffee houses they frequented, and the men and women Boswell befriended, such as the poet James MacPherson and the actor David Garrick.
In 1762 James Boswell, then twenty-two years old, left Edinburgh for London. The famous Journal he kept during the next nine months is an intimate account of his encounters with the high-life and the low-life in London. Frank and confessional as a personal portrait of the young Boswell, the Journal is also revealing as a vivid portrayal of life in eighteenth-century London. This new edition includes an introduction by Peter Ackroyd, which discusses Boswell's life and achievement.
From the Back Cover
"Boswell was the most charming companion in the world, and London becomes his dining-room and his playground, his club and his confessional. No celebrant of the London world can ignore his book." --Peter Ackroyd.
Praise for the earlier edition: "The journal is admirably edited and annotated." --W. H. Auden, New Yorker
[text prepared by Jegs11 for BookHound25, 2008]
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Boswell's London Journal by James Boswell (Audio CD - 1 Feb. 2010)
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