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The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age by [Leo Damrosch]

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The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 101 ratings

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Length: 498 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

"A magnificently entertaining book."--Michael Dirda, Washington Post
"Impeccable scholarship at the service of absolute lucidity. . . . Learned, penetrating, a pleasure to read. . . . [A] splendid book."--Joseph Epstein, Wall Street Journal
"Damrosch brilliantly brings together the members' voices. . . . As this stellar book moves from one Club member to another, it comes together as an ambitious venture homing in on the nature of creative stimulus. . . . The best historians . . . invite readers to accompany them 'behind the scenes.' Damrosch does precisely that here, . . . [in] a book that sustains a shared conversation, a terrific feat in keeping with that of the Club itself."--Lyndall Gordon, New York Times Book Review
"Beginning in 1764, some of Britain's future leading lights (including Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke and Edward Gibbon) met every Friday night to talk and drink. Damrosch's magnificent history revives the Club's creative ferment."--New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice
"Engaging and illuminating . . . Damrosch is a crisp guide . . . He wears his learning lightly, and his sympathetic enjoyment is infectious. . . . In The Club, as the actors appear one by one, surrounding Johnson and Boswell on Damrosch's stage, we are transported back to a world of conversations, arguments, ideas, and writings. And in this vibrantly realized milieu, words rarely fail."--Jenny Uglow, New York Review of Books
"[. . .] A very readable introduction" - Emily Jones, Financial Times
A New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2019
A Publishers Weekly's Best Book of 2019
A Kirkus Reviews' Best Book of 2019
Featured Among Publishers Weekly's"Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2019"
"This look at Samuel Johnson, his biographer James Boswell, and their social circle delightfully captures the bonds of friendship and competition which joined some of the late 18th century's greatest minds. . . . Damrosch [provides] crisp, colorful portraits of its members, illuminated by quotes from their lively, sometimes contentious interactions with each other. . . . This effervescent history shines a light on the extraordinary origins of a club which still exists to this day."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
A "masterful collective biography. . . . Damrosch offers incisive portraits of individual members, highlighting their relationships and interactions with one another to reveal 'the teeming, noisy, contradictory, and often violent world' they inhabited. . . . Late 18th century Britain comes brilliantly alive in a vibrant intellectual history."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Damrosch's account reminds readers why this circle of creativity continues to fascinate. . . . Enriched with well-chosen color plates and black-and-white illustrations, this is an excellent introduction to Johnson and his world for the novice and a pleasant retelling for the initiated."--Joseph Rosenblum, Library Journal
"If Samuel Johnson is your man, prize-winning biographer Leo Damrosch's atmospheric new book, The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age, should be on your radar. In clear, engaging prose, Damrosch ushers us into 'the club, ' i.e., the Turk's Head Tavern in London, where members like Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, Edward Gibbon, and James Boswell joined Johnson for food, drink, and, perhaps more than anything else, intelligent talk."--Fine Books & Collections Magazine
"An entertaining and absorbing journey to another century, when the art of communication and the spirit of thoughtful engagement attracted men and women of acute sensibilities."--Thomas Filbin, Arts Fuse
"Savoring the pages of The Club, one comes close to experiencing the exuberance described by Boswell in his account of a few hours spent with his mentor at the home of Mrs. Hester Thrale, Johnson's closest female friend: 'I was kindly welcomed. In a moment [Johnson] was in full glow of conversation, and I felt myself as if brought into another state of being. I shall ever recollect this scene with great pleasure.' Many readers will feel the same way about this book."--Aram Bakshian, Jr., Washington Times
"Such luminous configurations are rare."--A.W. Lee, Choice
"Damrosch gives us a sense of the dynamism and grandeur of the period by his expert use of sources and with a generous selection of paintings, portraits, and sketches. . . . He relies on the Thraliana to check the accuracy and motives of other observers throughout the book. While this is the biographer's task, it is an infrequent pleasure to see it done so well and so seamlessly. It's one of the things that makes Damrosch worth reading."--Timothy D. Lusch, Chronicles
"This fascinating history will likely prove one of the most engaging, enlightening, and delicious books you'll come across in a long time. . . . With unforgettable anecdotes and quotations, Damrosch shows that The Club did indeed shape an age. . . . Theirs was an age of 'words, words, words, ' to quote Hamlet, a love of which, as Damrosch shows, often superseded partisan politics and favored philosophies. As if all this richness were not enough, The Club excels in color photos and black-and-white drawings Damrosch integrates into his text. This is, simply put, a marvelous and memorable book."--Joan Baum, WSHU Public Radio
Winner in the PROSE Awards Biography and Autobiography category, sponsored by the Association of American Publishers


Finalist in the L.A. Times Book Prize, biography category, sponsored by the L.A.Times.
"The Club is a stimulating and delightful work. The portraits of Boswell, Gibbon, and Burke are extraordinary condensations granting us accurate visions of complex personalities. Leo Damrosch has addressed himself to common readers with authentic gusto."--Harold Bloom
"Brilliant, lucid, and enjoyable . . . With perfectly chosen anecdotes, The Club vividly evokes the period."--Norma Clarke, author of Dr Johnson's Women
"Leo Damrosch's book is an extraordinary achievement. A lively and engaging account of the coming together of a group of famously gifted individuals--the Club, a virtual microcosm of the vibrant world of mid-to-late eighteenth-century London."--William C. Dowling, Rutgers University
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.

About the Author

Leo Damrosch is the Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature Emeritus at Harvard University. His previous works include the National Book Critics Circle Award winner Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World, and Eternity's Sunrise: The Imaginative World of William Blake. He lives in Newton, MA. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
101 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 May 2019
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Top international reviews

Patrick Sullivan
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thought Provoking Journey
Reviewed in Canada on 25 September 2019
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Larry
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into the greats of the 18th century
Reviewed in Canada on 19 January 2020
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Alan Judge
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the book I expected
Reviewed in Canada on 22 June 2019
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Ozlit
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring and plainly disappointing
Reviewed in Germany on 8 November 2019
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Raymond Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars More than Boswell's Life
Reviewed in Canada on 13 October 2019
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Vytas Narusevicius
2.0 out of 5 stars Lots of gossip if that is what you like.
Reviewed in Canada on 14 June 2019
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Antonio Saborit
5.0 out of 5 stars El Club no era la Mutua de Elogios
Reviewed in Mexico on 3 May 2019
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mark powell
5.0 out of 5 stars Johnson and Burke are in a short list of the greatest “Englishmen” ever.
Reviewed in Canada on 16 August 2019
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Brian
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Reviewed in Canada on 20 October 2019
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Cliente Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars Tutto bene
Reviewed in Italy on 27 October 2019
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Anna Gabel
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucid
Reviewed in Germany on 17 January 2020
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Richard B. Schwartz
3.0 out of 5 stars A Book For General Readers, Not For Scholars
Reviewed in the United States on 11 April 2019
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C. M Mills
5.0 out of 5 stars The Club is a wonderful book on Doctor Johnson, Boswell and their circle of brilliant buddies!
Reviewed in the United States on 8 April 2019
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Ronald H. Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age
Reviewed in the United States on 4 May 2019
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Michael Kohlhaas
5.0 out of 5 stars What Boswell Didn't Tell
Reviewed in the United States on 22 April 2019
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