Designing the Life of Johnson
The Lyell Lectures, 2001-2002
By (author) Bruce Redford
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Designing the Life of Johnson by Bruce Redford
Book DescriptionFor over two centuries Boswell's massive biography of Samuel Johnson has been both reverenced and reviled. Yet neither its admirers nor its critics have fully understood how the book was designed to work upon them. Boswell himself is partly to blame: throughout the Life he directs attention away from artistry to industry, from creative choices to dedicated researches. Yet his working manuscript, one of the twentieth century's greatest literary discoveries, tells a much different tale. Designing the Life of Johnson, the first study of its kind, reconstructs Boswell's models and methods by charting this textual labyrinth. It begins by analysing the stages that led to the first edition, goes on to reveal the impact of portrait and theatre-piece upon the structure of the Life, and ends by uncovering the transformation of Johnson from savage into sage. The result is a more subtle, more vital assessment of Boswell the designer - and an enhanced awareness of biography's power to make life into art.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780198187394
(223mm x 144mm x 20mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 2-May-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Bruce Redford
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Dilettanti, Hardback (August 2008)
Shows the vibrant culture of connoisseurship in Enlightenment England by investigating the multifaceted activities and achievements of the Society of Dilettanti - a group founded in 1732 devoted to the study, and support of those studying, Greco-Roman antiquity. This title examines its members, and their expeditions, collections, and publications.
Designing the Life of Johnson, Paperback (July 2005)» View all books by Bruce Redford
What makes a biographical masterpiece? By decoding the manuscript of Boswell's Life of Johnson, this innovative study reveals the methods and the models that shaped his monumental portrait. The result is a more subtle, more vital assessment of Boswell the designer - and an enhanced awareness of biography's power to make life into art.
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Author Biography - Bruce Redford
Editor of the OUP/Princeton UP 5-volume edition of the Letters of Samuel Johnson, 1992-4; now editor of the Yale UP/Edinburgh UP edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson: An Edition of the Original Manuscript (vol. 2)
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