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Download The Life of Samuel Johnson Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Life of Samuel Johnson Audiobook, by James Boswell
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,166 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James Boswell Narrator: Jim Killavey Publisher: Jimcin Recordings Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2009 ISBN:
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This book is considered by many to be the finest literary biography ever published. Samuel Johnson was the leading literary scholar and critic of his age, helping to define the Augustan Age of English Literature. He is as celebrated for his brilliant conversation as he is for his writing. He began contributing to London magazine around 1737 on literary and political subjects. Johnson's place in history and literature was assured with the publication of his Dictionary of the English Language, the first comprehensive English lexicography. In 1763 Johnson met James Boswell and, by 1791, The Life of Samuel Johnson appeared. Boswell recorded Johnson's conversation so minutely that Johnson is better remembered today for his sayings than for his own literary work. His biography is generally regarded as one of the greatest in the language. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 2/9/2014

    " This was my first e-book, and I got it for free through Project Gutenburg. I've been reading it on my iPod iTouch for 15 to 30 minutes at a time - whenever standing in line, stuck in traffic, in bed before sleep - since Christmas. It wasn't really a comprehensive biography so much as a series of anecdotes, conversations the author had noted in his diary. Very repetitive, but here and there were some interesting details. Like the fact that Johnson most likely had Tourette's Syndrome. And that he was a Tory who despised Americans. And that "animadversion" means "criticism." And that in 1791 "awful" still meant "awe-inspiring." And that educated people still actually *spoke* Latin. Etc. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rachel | 1/10/2014

    " So many times I have tried to read this and must conclude I am simply not heavyweight enough to enjoy this sort of thing. It is well written but the amount of footnotes is phenomenal. Should one read them or ignore them?? In addition the other people in the book - well known in their day - are all very obscure to me and I cannot drum up any interest in their doings. Oh dear. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ken Ludwig | 12/18/2013

    " This, along with Pride and Prejudice, Tom Jones and a few prime Wodehouse novels, is my favorite book of all time and I'm always re-reading it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurel Kane | 12/16/2013

    " Read for my Roots of Modern Disciplines course taught by Mary Poovey @ NYU. This book is ridiculous is so many ways... but mostly good ones. I laughed out loud plenty of times. It is also fascinating to realize that these things were said by Johnson (and others) almost 250 years ago - kind of made you feel like you stepped into a time machine. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kiof | 11/30/2013

    " The ultimate non-fiction book. Just plain great. For me, this is beach-reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark | 11/14/2013

    " I'm giving this five stars even though it's an abridgment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric Sonnenschein | 11/5/2013

    " I love this book. It is one of the ultimate fantasies of life and literature...two friends and companions, one the persona,the other a patient amnuensis, who devotes himself to capturing that personality in the amber of a transparent prose. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nathan Eilers | 4/1/2013

    " All right, I read only part of the abridged version, but I liked it well enough. This is a LONG book full of anecdotes told by Johnson's flunky, Boswell. Many of these little stories are quite enjoyable, and many are boring. No reason to read this whole thing unless you're an 18th Century scholar. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Whitney | 3/31/2013

    " Excerpts read for 18th Century British Roots of Modern Disciplines. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Curtis | 1/18/2013

    " This is an unabridged edition. You don't need to read the unabridged edition to get the benefit. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Faye | 12/8/2012

    " It would have been so much better if Boswell had kept himself out of it and had stuck to writing about JOHNSON. It really got on my nerves after a while. For once, I think I support the abridgement of a classic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 11/25/2012

    " I only remember it was so very well written. boswell the better man "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Conor Robin Madigan | 10/31/2012

    " read it just for Johnson's death: a stunning area of the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellie | 8/11/2012

    " Actually, I dip in and out of this one (over 30 years!) and I find it delightful & very funny. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kalyn | 1/20/2012

    " Cumbersome, perhaps, but better to get the wheat and the chaff then have to wonder what was left out. Boswell is a little over-zealous, but one has to admire his devotion and tenacity. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Colin | 6/20/2011

    " While I love much about the 18th century, particularly the education of gentlemen that made for a facile fluency with Latin and often Greek, I am simply not as enraptured with Samuel Johnson as was Boswell. Oh well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 6/13/2011

    " I'm only on page 50, of 1006.... it's a daunting prospect but it's already clear it will be so well worth it! I love that elegant georgian (?) way of writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric | 5/6/2011

    " I love this book. It is one of the ultimate fantasies of life and literature...two friends and companions, one the persona,the other a patient amnuensis, who devotes himself to capturing that personality in the amber of a transparent prose. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kiof | 4/27/2011

    " The ultimate non-fiction book. Just plain great. For me, this is beach-reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda | 3/31/2011

    " I had to control myself not to make a thorough study of Johnson after reading this account of his life. He was a true character. I especially loved the group of men he hung out with. Boswell was a good friend to write a book that immortalized the bigger than life Johnson. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nick | 1/17/2011

    " Not as funny as I expected. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 1/11/2011

    " It's a great one. Will re-read again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellie | 1/3/2011

    " Actually, I dip in and out of this one (over 30 years!) and I find it delightful & very funny. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Doug | 12/30/2010

    " Very witty and entertaining at parts, but also very dense. Along with 100 Years of Solitude, it's a book where I spent so much effort climbing the mountain that I couldn't enjoy the view. Will have to reread it to really grasp it and appreciate it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gaius Tullius | 5/22/2010

    " While I love much about the 18th century, particularly the education of gentlemen that made for a facile fluency with Latin and often Greek, I am simply not as enraptured with Samuel Johnson as was Boswell. Oh well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 3/27/2010

    " It gets better and better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark | 2/15/2010

    " I'm giving this five stars even though it's an abridgment. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kate | 1/27/2010

    " Kind of hard to get through. I didn't like the writing style and found it kind of boring. It's HUGE and takes forever to read because the print is tiny. He's an interesting guy but this could have been shorter. "

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About the Author
Author James Boswell

James Boswell (1740–1795), Scottish man of letters, was born in Edinburgh and studied civil law at Glasgow, but his true ambition was literary fame and the company of great men. In spring 1760 he ran away to London, where he first met Samuel Johnson. He eventually met Voltaire, Rousseau, and Paoli, the hero of Corsica, whom he Boswellized in Account of Corsica, which was an immediate success. In 1773 he was elected to Johnson’s famous literary club. After Johnson’s death and the publication of The Journal of the Tour of the Hebrides, another great success, he began his acknowledged masterpiece, The Life of Samuel Johnson.