Samuel Johnson was a poet, essayist, dramatist, and pioneering lexicographer, but his continuing reputation depends less on his literary output than on the fortunate accident of finding an ideal biographer in James Boswell. As Johnson's constant and admiring companion, Boswell was able to record not only the outward events of his life, but also the humour, wit, and sturdy common sense of his conversation. His brilliant portrait of a major literary figure of the
eighteenth century, enriched by historical and social detail, remains a monument to the art of biography.
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