The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age Audiobook, by Leo Damrosch Play Audiobook Sample

The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age Audiobook

The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age Audiobook, by Leo Damrosch Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 10.00 hours at 1.5x Speed 7.50 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: March 2019 Format: Unabridged Audiobook ISBN: 9781982664374

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

25:02 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

44 seconds

Average Chapter Length:

07:38 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Publisher Description

Prize-winning biographer Leo Damrosch tells the story of “the Club,” a group of extraordinary writers, artists, and thinkers who gathered weekly at a London tavern

In 1763, the painter Joshua Reynolds proposed to his friend Samuel Johnson that they invite a few friends to join them every Friday at the Turk’s 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 brilliant, 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.

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“[An] atmospheric new book…In clear, engaging prose, Damrosch ushers us into ‘the club,’ i.e., the Turk’s Head Tavern in London, where members like Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, Edward Gibbon, and James Boswell joined Johnson for food, drink, and, perhaps more than anything else, intelligent talk.

— FineBooks& 


  • “Damrosch brilliantly brings together the members’ voices… [A] stellar book.”

    — New York Times Book Review
  • “Impeccable scholarship at the service of absolute lucidity…Learned, penetrating, a pleasure to read…[A] splendid book.”

    — Wall Street Journal
  • “An exceptionally lively introduction to late eighteenth-century English thought and literature…Relates many of the best anecdotes and verbal bonbons associated with Johnson or his friends…Magnificently entertaining.”

    — Washington Post
  • “A group portrait of the extraordinary ‘Club’…whose work, lives, and ideas resonate still.”

    — Harvard Magazine
  • “Masterful…Late eighteenth century Britain comes brilliantly alive in a vibrant intellectual history.”

    — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • “Simon Vance is a master narrator and a highly suitable choice for this lively history…The narrative is rich, insightful, often quite bawdy, and performed with perfect expression, grace, and understanding.”

    — AudioFile
  • “Delightfully captures the bonds of friendship and competition…in his rollickingly entertaining look at late-18th-century London’s liveliest, most dazzlingly witty social club.”

    — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • “Damrosch’s account reminds readers why this circle of creativity continues to fascinate.”

    — Library Journal
  • “So many of the ideas circulating in eighteenth-century London…shaped the world we live in today. This book is an indispensable examination of an uncertain, rapidly-changing, hugely influential place and time.”

    — BookRiot
  • “Brilliant, lucid, and enjoyable…With perfectly chosen anecdotes, The Club vividly evokes the period.”

    — Norma Clarke, author of Brothers of the Quill
  • “Leo Damrosch’s book is an extraordinary achievement. A lively and engaging account of the coming together of a group of famously gifted individuals—the Club, a virtual microcosm of the vibrant world of mid-to-late eighteenth-century London.”

    — William C. Dowling, Rutgers University
  • “Damrosch’s glorious study takes us on a brilliantly animated Grand Tour of the whole Johnsonian universe, with its ever-expanding galaxy of stellar personalities…Shrewd, good-natured, and endlessly informative, Damrosch makes a spell-binding guide.”

    — Richard Holmes, author of The Age of Wonder


  • A BookRiot Pick of 7 Great New LIterary Biographies
  • A #1 bestseller in British & Irish Literary Criticism
  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2019
  • A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
  • A Newsday Pick of the Week
  • A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year in Nonfiction
  • One of the New York Times Top 10 Best Books of the Year
  • One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2019 in Nonfiction
  • Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography

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About Leo Damrosch

Leo Damrosch is the Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature Emeritus at Harvard University. His previous works include the National Book Critics Circle Award winner Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World and Eternity’s Sunrise: The Imaginative World of William Blake.

About Simon Vance

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and narrator. He has earned more than fifty Earphones Awards and won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration thirteen times. He was named Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008 and has been named an AudioFile Golden Voice as well as an AudioFile Best Voice of 2009. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London. He is also an actor who has appeared on both stage and television.