Dr. Johnson and Mr. Savage - Richard HolmesLondon, Sydney & Auckland: Hodder & Stoughton, 1993, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Previous owners' name to the first blank.
From the cover: “Dr Johnson & Mr Savage is the story of a mysterious eighteenth-century friendship which challenges our whole view of literary history.
Richard Savage, author of The Bastard (1728), was an extraordinary figure who could have been invented by Defoe or Fielding but who, in every sense, invented himself. Poet, playwright and convicted murderer, he was a seductive, contradictory personality who roamed through the taverns, brothels, theatres, society salons and prisons of Augustan England creating a legend of poetic injustice.
Strangest of all his achievements was the friendship he inspired in the twenty-seven-year-old Samuel Johnson, then an unknown provincial schoolmaster just arrived in London from Lichfield to seek his literary fortune.
This puzzling and emotional intimacy helped to form Johnson’s experience of the world and his profound knowledge of human passions, and led directly to his first masterpieces: London (1738) and The Life of Richard Savage (1744), a labour of love that, at a stroke, revolutionised the art of biography and virtually invented the poet as a romantic, outcast figure.
Using an imaginative series of narrative methods, Richard Holmes gradually reconstructs this strange alliance from its forgotten sources (lost poems, trial transcripts, unpublished diaries and magazine scandals) and throws surprising new light on the tender character of the young Sam Johnson, twenty years before Boswell met him. In this biography of a biography he also investigates the deepening labyrinth of historical enigmas surrounding Savage’s story. This leads him to question the very nature of life-writing and to expose the conflicts between friendship, truth and advocacy which the modern form has inherited.”