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LIFE AND CONVERSATIONS
DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON
(FOUNDED CHIEFLY UPON BOSWELL).
WITH A PREFACE BY GEORGE HENRY LEWES.
"Johnson, to be sure, has a roughness in his manner; but no man alive has a more
THE AUTHOR DEDICATES
THIS RE-TELLING OF AN OLD TALE
CHARLES AND MARY COWDEN CLARKE
IN TOKEN OF GRATITUDE TO PERSONAL FRIENDS
AND ADMIRATION OF FAITHFUL WORKERS
IN A NOBLE FIELD.
BOSWELL'S LIFE OF JOHNSON not only holds an undisputed place among the classical achievements of English Literature, but belongs to that group within the classical group which may be distinguished as consisting of works both well-reputed and read, the other classics being well-reputed and unopened. No one who has this book is content to have it on his shelves, a mere respectability in calf-gilt-one of Charles Lamb's favourite aversions," a book which no gentleman's library should be without." If it is on his shelves, it is often on his table. It is handled with fond familiarity, and taken down from time to time to be dipped into or consulted. It belongs to the intimate circle: is neither a grand acquaintance, nor a poor relation. It is a book which he quotes in conversation; and when sympathetic listeners are at hand he will now and then read from it passage after passage, laughing over and over again at the well-known quips and retorts, as if they were novelties. He is intolerant of people who do not share his admiration for the "dear old Doctor"-thin liberals who scorn Johnson's toryism, prim rationalists who despise his superstition, and literati reared under modern influences who are amazed at his want of poetic insight. From all such unsympathetic minds he turns impatiently