The Life of Samuel Johnson

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Boswell's The Life of Samuel Johnson: The Ultimate Biography

Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson, (1740-95) many people reflect it as the ultimate biography ever transcribed.

The Groundbreaking Nature of Boswell's Biography

“The life of Samuel Johnson” is a ground-breaking biographical work that innovatively stands out in its description and chronology. Boswell shifts the biography from the subject to what it shows. Besides describing Johnson’s life, he also provides insightful examples and comments. He further dramatically presents the irascible Dr. Johnson through his speech and actions. Boswell’s work brings out a themes religion and praise in which he praise’s Johnson’s potential and even his faults.

The Comparison of Writing Styles Between Joseph Addison and Samuel Johnson

In the extract as of, The Life of Samuel Johnson, written James Boswell, he differentiates concerning the dual dissimilar script charms of Joseph Addison and Samuel Johnson. Boswell has confidence in the two as they are much-respected novelists however it is obvious Boswell favorites Johnson’s smartness compared to Addison’s. He expresses his viewpoint on mutually styles plus strategies, i.e. metaphors and descriptions.

Addison's Style as Smooth and Calm

Boswell shields Addison contrary to assertions made on Addison’s inscription stylishness as “nerveless and feeble” while that of Johnson has "strength and energy"(Boswell 58). In his path, Boswell reflects the collective state as of which Addison is making an inscription after. Addison’s stylishness is smooth and calms similar to a debate, signifying that he composes the approach he voices. He is supplementary similar as an “accomplished companion” and doesn’t inscribe as if he is directly above his addressees as of an intelligent opinion but slightly a well-informed teammate (Boswell 58).

Johnson's Style as Bold and Vigorous

In dissimilarity, Johnson’s stylishness is daring and extra vigorous. Boswell perceives that “Johnson writes like a teacher” (Boswell 58); Johnson, as divergent to Addison, styles himself identified as the advanced intelligence to his addressees. Johnson ensures that he does not grip back and positions his opinions confidently similar to a professor talking in front of his scholars. He “dictates to his readers as if from an academical chair” and does not purely propose his opinion like Addison but expresses it with a powerful flora (Boswell 58). Johnson’s readers do not just respect him, they look at him with “awe and admiration”. Boswell is one of those readers who finds Addison’s writing pleasing but prefers a more intellectually exciting read that can be found in Johnson’s work. Boswell sees Johnson’s writing as more invigorating and captivating to the ear, writing that others aim for. “Highly relished” and “like liquor of more body” is how Boswell describes his view on Johnson’s writing. The after effect of Johnson’s work is more lasting and is far more appreciated by those looking for more substance. It is apparent Boswell favors a more mind stimulating read.

Appeal of Different Styles to Different Readers

Readers find enjoyment in Addison’s work but are astounded by Johnson’s. He states both styles appeal to different audiences, with readers fancying Addison but admiring Johnson.

Boswell's Favoritism Towards Johnson's Style

Boswell respects Addison and does not show any disrespect to him in the least but clearly favors Johnson’s style. He praises both authors but elevates Johnson in a subtle way. Boswell contrasts both writers as Addison being more like “light wine” and Johnson as “liquor of more body”. Liquor is more complex while light wine is simpler. It takes one with refined taste to fully appreciate the boldness of liquor versus a common wine that is simply pleasing to everyone. Addison’s work can still be enjoyed but Johnson’s work is for those who wish to be intoxicated with knowledge.

Johnson's Personality and Character

Boswell says that he “had the honor and happiness of enjoying” Johnson’s friendship. “His conversation, of which the extraordinary vigor and vivacity constituted one of the first features of his character…” (Boswell 12). Boswell believes that Dr. Johnson was the best of his time. Through his description, we get to know Dr. Johnson as the most outstanding figure of British literature. Through imagery, the greatness of Jonson is revealed; “of a strong and active mind; yet as in the most solid rocks veins of unsound substance…” (Boswell 4). These descriptions give a better idea of Johnson’s looks. Apart from making the reader interested in Johnson’s works, Boswell exalts his personality. Johnson is explained as one who is different from his friends and with talents that couldn’t be matched; he had “extraordinary powers of mind’ (Boswell 510). Boswell positively portrayed Johnson even when he discussed his negative features. For instance, he writes that Johnson “had many prejudices; which, however, frequently suggested many of his pointed sayings that rather show a playfulness of fancy than any settled malignity” (Boswell 446).

The Theme of Religion and Johnson's Reflections on Death

Boswell discusses the theme of religion by stating that Johnson was a very religious person who strongly feared death. “The better a man is, the more afraid he is of death, having a clearer view of infinite purity” (Boswell 158). It is through this fear that Dr. Johnson was able to find answers to various religious and philosophical questions. His reflections on death gave him the inspiration to become a researcher. This is why he investigated different sectors of human knowledge and got answers to enlighten others.

Work Cited

Boswell, James. The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D.: Comprehending an Account of His Studies and Numerous Works, in Chronological Order; a Series of His Epistolary Correspondence; and Conversations with Many Eminent Persons... Jones, 1827.

November 24, 2023

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