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The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age Hardcover – 15 Apr 2019


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“Damrosch's glorious study takes us on a brilliantly animated Grand Tour of the whole Johnsonian universe, with its ever-expanding galaxy of stellar personalities. He revisits not only the old glittering Club Land familiars like James Boswell, David Garrick, Edmund Burke, and Sir Joshua Reynolds, but also intriguing lesser known luminaries such as Johnson's early portrait painter Frances Reynolds (younger sister of Sir Joshua), his secret confidante and confessor Hester Thrale, his black servant Francis Barber, his pornographic friend John Wilkes, and his “infidel opponent David Hume. Shrewd, good-natured, and endlessly informative, Damrosch makes a spell-binding guide. He narrates with a compelling mixture of provoking gossip, shrewd commentary and masterly scholarship. He is so intimate and engaging, that I could well believe he once drank punch and compared notes with Boswell at the Mitre Tavern.—Richard Holmes, author of The Age of Wonder “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

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.

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