Boswell's Life of Johnson is established as one of the foremost literary biographies in the English language. This 1991 collection of essays, commemorating its bicentenary, investigates Boswell's achievements and limitations in both literary and personal contexts, and goes beyond the Life to examine the full range of Boswell's writings and interests (in legal, social, theological, political and linguistic fields). Drawing Boswell out of Johnson's shadow, the volume places him in a wider context, juxtaposing Boswell with other contemporaries and compatriots in the Scottish enlightenment, such as Hume, Robertson and Blair. In addition it investigates some of the critical and theoretical questions surrounding the notion of biographical representation in the Life itself. Boswell emerges as a writer engaged throughout his literary career in constructing a self or series of selves out of his divided Scottish identity. This collection combines archival research with fresh critical perspectives and constitutes a timely review of Boswell's status in eighteenth-century literary studies.
Table of Contents
Preface and acknowledgements
Notes on contributors
Introduction: Boswell's Ambiguity David Daiches
Part I. Boswell and Eighteenth-Century Scottish
1. Boswell and the rhetoric of friendship
2. Scottish divines and legal lairds: Boswell's
Scots presbyterian identity Richard B. Sher
3. Boswell and the Scotticism Pat Rogers
4. Boswell as man of letters Joan H. Pittock
Part II. Contexts for the Life of Johnson: 5.
Boswell's liberty-loving Account of Corsica and
the art of travel literature Thomas M. Curley
6. Boswell and sympathy: the trial and
execution of John Reid Gordon Turnbull
7. Boswell and Hume: the deathbed interview
Richard B. Swchwrtz
8. 'This philosophical melancholy': style and
self in Boswell and Hume Susan Manning
Part III. The Life of Johnson Reconsidered: 9.
The originality of Boswell's version of
Johnson's quarrel with Lord Chesterfield John
J. Burke, Jr.
10. Self-restraint and self-display in the
authorial comments in the Life of Johnson
Marlies K. Danziger
11. The conversations in the Life of Johnson
Paul J. Korshin
12. Remembering the hero in Boswell's Life of
Johnson Donna Heiland
13. Truth and artifice in Boswell's Life of
Johnson Greg Clingham