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First Edition, February 1906 Reprinted, July 1906 ; November 1907

RICHARD Clay & Sons, Limited,


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rencial 12-19-48



PUBLISHED for the first time in 1791, seven years after Dr. Johnson's death, Boswell's Life, as he reminds us in his Advertisement to the second edition, found appreciative critics at the outset. “Let me mention," he says, with a warm, but no insolent exultation,

that I have been regaled with spontaneous praise of my work by many and various persons eminent for their rank, learning, talents, and accomplishments; much of which praise I have under their hands to be reposited in my archives at Auchinleck.” But Boswell's best critic and reviewer was not to appear for another forty-one years, when he arrived in the person of Thomas Carlyle. One of the weightiest accounts ever given indeed by one author of another's book was that of Carlyle, written upon Boswell's Johnson. It was originally contributed, a mighty review almost as long as some modern novels, to Fraser's Magazine in 1832, the special occasion being the issue of Wilson-Croker's edition of 1831. Carlyle resumed the subject and repeated the argument of his essay afterwards in his book on “Heroes." Here are reprinted some passages of the Fraser article, which defend, yet unsparingly characterize, the ineffable author of the best biography in the language, and which form an introduction to its pages, invigorating and vivifying to a degree. The whole essay, it is needless to say, though it is a huge improvisation, disproportionate in parts and much distended by Carlyle's moral monologues, is, as a piece of original criticism, all but unique in literature. Croker's edition of 1831 was in five volumes and cost three pounds. There must have been at least fifty editions since then ; and the present, which costs thirty times less, goes a step further than any other in carrying on the great transition which Carlyle pointed to as beginning in Johnson's day, and by which literature passed “from the protection of Patrons into that of the Public.”

“Boswell,” said Carlyle, was a person whose mean or bad qualities lay open to the general eye, visible, palpable to the dullest. His good qualities, again, belonged not to the Time he


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