Boswell's London Journal 1762-1763 Hardcover – 1950
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Top Customer Reviews
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.'
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.Read more ›