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This edition, expanded to include the text of letters unavailable at the time of the volume's first publication in 1969, records James Boswell's quest over a period of more than twenty years to amplify his knowledge of his major biographical subject, Samuel Johnson, through a detailed correspondence with a wide network of friends, informants, and other authorities. The volume, with revised and updated annotation, shows not just Boswell's struggles through his personal distresses to gather material for his Life of Johnson, but notes many of his revisions of his sources, changes made in manuscript and proof, and revisions of the first and second editions. It presents letters that illuminate the contemporary reception of his powerfully innovative, controversial, and influential biography (which appeared first in 1791), taking the story as far as exchanges in 1808 between Boswell's friend and editor, Edmond Malone, and his son, James Boswell the younger, about corrections for the sixth edition of 1811. Throughout, the annotation brings to life an extensive range of eighteenth-century figures, issues and topics.The Times Literary Supplement (23 July 1970) found the interest of this 'fascinating' volume threefold: 'It gives fresh evidence of Boswell's scrupulousness, ability and tact; it leads us to a fuller understanding of what people expected from biography, and what were eighteenth-century notions of propriety and accuracy; and it enables us perhaps to define more clearly the achievement of Boswell's masterpiece. ' This corrected and enlarged version (the first edition has been out of print for two decades) will serve as a valuable supplement and companion to the Yale manuscript edition of the Life of Johnson, upon which all future editions of Boswell's biography will need to draw.
Edinburgh University Press
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