YOUNG SAM JOHNSON by James Clifford


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A carpet slipper job, behind the scenes, before the curtain goes up -- on the early years of Boswell's boy, this identifies the tiny stitches that formed the pattern of a men of literary history. And Sam comes through, as his background is filled in, from childhood until after the appearance of his Dictionary. Heredity, illness, emotional conflicts at the start of his life in Lichfield; his first cousin, first of his many condoned companions; his poems and Gilbert Walmesley; his father's bookshop and his failure there; Oxford, depressions, his marriage to Tetty (Mrs. Porter); and, after an unfortunate attempt to be a schoolmaster -- London. With his inability to earn a living, it was the country again and teaching and again London and hack writing, with many projects until The Dictionary and verse put his ball in the public court... From the Life, from recently available Juvenilia, this taken a sober tracing of the man-to-be:- his uncommon abilities, his relations with his family, friends, ladies and gentlemen -- and cronies; his clothes, health, scars, courage, depressions; his interest in persons rather than places, events rather than their settings; the basic form of his critical sense and approach; and the significance of the beginnings of an English great. For the delvers, the drudgers, this turns up, examines and construes and translates much that has gone before -- in close mesh fashion. There is a market. Link this with The Highland Jaunt just reviewed.

Pub Date: April 13th, 1955
Publisher: McGraw-Hill