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Read The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age eBook Þ Audio CD Ò [EPUB] ✴ The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age By Join or create book clubs – Named one of the 10 Best Books of 2019by theNew York Times Book ReviewOposed to his friend Samuel Johnson that they invite a few friends to join them every Friday at the Turks Head Tavern in London to dine drink and talk until midnight Eventually the group came to include among its members Edmund Burke Adam Smith Edward Gibbon and James Boswell It was known simply as the Club In this captivating book Leo Damrosch brings alive a b Based on the life and career of Samuel Johnson and his dear friend and biographer James Boswell this picture of a wide circle of literary and artistic friends 'The Club' presents a well informed and delightful account of literary London around the middle years of the Eighteenth Century Damrosch a Blake specialist shows his thorough knowledge of the period and what is his ability to write very well and to wear his learning lightly Anyone who has even a passing interest in British literature and history will get great pleasure from this book

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Rilliant competitive and eccentric cast of characters With the friendship of the odd couple Samuel Johnson and James Boswell at the heart of his narrative Damrosch conjures up the precarious exciting and often brutal world of late eighteenth‑century Britain This is the story of an extraordinary group of people whose ideas helped to shape their age and our own Well written from an American perspective If you want from The Club than a BoswellJohnson discourse and only rather perfunctory details of the other members then this is not a book for you I was especially amazed at the very brief mention of a giant of the natural world Sir Joseph Banks of Captain Cook and Kew fame and Boulton and Watt the instigators of the industrial revolution

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The Club Johnson Boswell and the Friends Who Shaped an AgeNamed one of the 10 Best Books of 2019by theNew York Times Book Review A Publishers WeeklyBest Book of 2019 AKirkusBest Book of 2019 Damrosch brings the Clubs redoubtable personalitiesthe brilliant minds the jousting wits the tender camaraderieto vivid lifeNew York Times Book ReviewMagnificently entertainingWashington Post In 1763 the painter Joshua Reynolds pr Eighteenth century England was a lively place Captain Cook was exploring the South Seas Playwrights like Richard Sheridan and Oliver Goldsmith were writing plays we still enjoy and David Garrick was acting in them Adam Smith was inventing modern economics And so on Despite the breadth of the innovation exploration and accomplishments in that era though the cast of characters who played major roles all seemed to know one another The Club focuses on one small remarkable group of men who gathered for camaraderie and stimulating conversation and uses their lives to open the door onto the big picture of the intellectual life of the period It is amazing how such a small group could have so much influence in their own time and later These are practically all names we remember Samuel Johnson for his dictionary and literary criticism James Boswell for biography Edmund Burke for his oratory Edward Gibbon for his history Adam Smith for economics Sir Joshua Reynolds for painting David Garrick for acting and even Joseph Banks who traveled with Captain Cook and later was president of the Royal SocietyDamrosch’s primary emphasis is on Johnson and Boswell and he devotes about a third of the book to a description of their lives before the Club is formed The other members each get a chapter and even in those chapters there is a lot of description of their interaction with Boswell and Johnson The activities of the Club itself take up only a fairly small part of the book No matter who or what the subject is at any time though Damrosch gives the bigger picture as well on subjects like religious controversy matters of class and similar social issues There are a lot of a lot of interesting detours For example the chapter on Johnson’s early career includes a section on his friendship with several women writers Elizabeth Carter whose translation of Epictetus was still being reprinted as late as 1910 and Charlotte Lennox whose novel The Female uixote may have been Jane Austen’s inspiration for Northanger Abbey Austen acknowledged that she loved the book There is interesting history of the emergence of the modern magazine during this period and the difficulty of making a living as a writer Some things never changeThe Club provides a vivid narrative picture so it is only fitting that it should include illustrations provided by the art of the day Damrosch describes the many artworks that are shown in the book which was very helpful because he explains the significance of small details in the pictures that the reader could miss or not understand and also because in the Kindle edition at least the details were not legible even when I enlarged the picture to full screen size eg fig 6 is a picture of Edward Cave holding a letter addressed to him at St John’s Gate a significant locationAt its best The Club is a fascinating broad sweeping portrait that also teems with delightful factoids and sidebars It uotes extensively from sources contemporary to and some earlier than the Club members and from sources contemporary to Damrosch At its worst it is annoying or confusing as Damrosch cannot help sharing his genuinely encyclopedic knowledge of history For example when Damrosch describes Johnson’s friendship with writer Charlotte Lennox he tells us that Johnson organized a party for her when her first novel was published in 1751 at the Devil Tavern which had been a favorite of Ben Jonson who died in 1637 He then goes on to uote Ben Jonson’s friend Drummond about Jonson’s fondness for drink Why are we talking about Ben Jonson? In another section he discusses how Boswell’s journal shows his early skill at bringing social events to life and says he “happened to meet a retired attorney at a dinner party who sings Tarry Woo with the English accent” Damrosch then tells us that Tarry Woo is one of the few songs that Sir Walter Scott was willing to sing in company I thought “Was Scott an attorney? I thought he lived later than that” Scott was not born until 1771 So why was he mentioned here? When I see detours like this I then look to see how they tie into the subject but often they are simply Damrosch sharing his love of informationReaders who expect a tightly focused history of The Club based on the book title may be disappointed If you want to enjoy it I recommend that you approach it as Damrosch does his description of the artwork in the book there is a lot going on and sometimes you need to see the little details in order to get the big pictureMy thanks to NetGalley and Yale University Press for an advance review copy of this book