eBook ¼ ePub The Club ì ✓ Leo Damrosch

Leo Damrosch ¿ The Club text

eBook ¼ ePub The Club ì ✓ Leo Damrosch ✓ Named one of the 10 Best Books of 2019 by the  New York Times Book Review  • A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019 •  A  Kirkus Best Book of 2019  “Damrosch brings the Club’s redoubtable personalities—the brilliant minds the jousting wits the tender camaradBrings 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 Following Leo Damrosch's lead I'm going to uote liberally from the subjects of The Club in this review—for although his own prose is certainly lively and accessible the real stars are the individuals Damrosch studies like Samuel Johnson James Boswell Edmund Burke Edward Gibbon Adam Smith and others who began meeting and exchanging ideas in London's Turk's Head Tavern back in 1764Although a much changed version of the Club exists even in the present day The Club focuses on its first twenty years and most of the best bon mots in the book come from just one of its founding members Samuel Johnson Possibly this is because his scribe Boswell did his best to record everything Johnson said in his hearing Consider these examples from early in The ClubThere is no doubt that a man may appear very gay in company who is sad at heart His merriment is like the sound of drums and trumpets in a battle to drown the groans of the wounded and dying—Samuel Johnson p18and the savage sarcasm ofIf any creditors Johnson says could really be indifferent to the suffering endured by a debtor's prisoner's wife and children I must leave them to be awakened by some other power for I write only to human beings—p40Damrosch often uotes from Johnson's own landmark A Dictionary of the English Language as well as his source for contemporary definitions of words whose meanings have shiftedAnd Damrosch is not above inserting his own opinions as well now and thenBoswell always did enjoy the sound of his own voice—p267The Club isn't just about Johnson and Boswell though Take for example the way Damrosch compares the opinions of historian Edward Gibbon and economist Adam Smith in this passageIn the Decline and Fall Gibbon states as a truism Most of the crimes which disturb the internal peace of society are produced by the restraints which the necessary but uneual laws of property have imposed on the appetites of mankind by confining to a few the possession of those objects that are coveted by manyAdam Smith with whom Gibbon developed a friendship said exactly the same thing in a series of lectures on jurisprudence Laws and government may be considered as a combination of the rich to oppress the poor and preserve to themselves the ineuality of the goods which would otherwise be soon destroyed by the attacks of the poor who if not hindered by the government would soon reduce the others to an euality with themselves by open violenceRousseau and Marx could not have put it better—except that in Smith's opinion this was a very good thing—p168However far from being an unreflective cheerleader of libertarianism as if there were any other kind Adam Smith he of the invisible hand appears to have considered his notion to be descriptive rather than prescriptiveThe government of an exclusive company of merchants is perhaps the worst of all governments for any country whatever—Adam Smith p307The oratory of statesman Edmund Burke receives Damrosch's scrutiny as well—as in Burke's conclusion to this speech indicting Warren Hastings the governor general of IndiaI impeach Warren Hastings Esuire of high crimes and misdemeanoursI impeach him in the name of the Commons of Great Britain in parliament assembled whose parliamentary trust he has betrayedI impeach him in the name of all the Commons of Great Britain whose national character he has dishonouredI impeach him in the name of the people of India whose laws rights and liberties he has subverted whose properties he has destroyed whose country he has laid waste and desolateI impeach him in the name and by virtue of those eternal laws of justice which he has violatedI impeach him in the name of human nature itself which he has cruelly outraged injured and oppressed in both sexes in every age rank situation and condition of life—Edmund Burke p309The applicability of these orotund phrases to any modern proceeding is left to the discrimination of the reader although it should perhaps also be noted that the impeachment of Hastings after dragging on for years eventually ended in acuittalDamrosch does what he can to acknowledge the many women who surrounded the men of The Club like Hester Thrale who helped give Johnson a roof and bolstered him against depression although ultimately Damrosch can do little to counteract the bulk of English history—a history which after all has been written by the weiners heh confirmed uibbler Edmund Burke might well have liked that pun terrible as it is at least according to Damrosch's accountIt's really tempting to dismiss the Club altogether as a convocation of Dead White Males but I do think it's possible to honor the manifold achievements of these men while still censuring their feet and other parts of clay and I think Damrosch does a fine job of walking that lineI will include one woman's words at least; this is Fanny Burney about the noted beauty Elizabeth LinleyHad I been for my sins born of the male race I should certainly have added one to Miss Linley's train—p199As The Club begins with Johnson and Boswell so it ends I found this observation from late in Johnson's life especially affectingAs I know of mankind I expect less of them and am ready now to call a man a good man upon easier terms than I was formerly—Samuel Johnson p352Although his wit remained savage when warranted; this is Johnson from the same era on the forgettable poems of Mark AkensideWhen they are once found to be generally dull all further labour may be spared for to what use can the work be criticized that will not be read?—p359Or to put it in modern parlance DNFRich multifaceted and dense you will want to finish The Club The dozens of vivid color plates in the middle of the book add luster as well although flipping back and forth between the images and the references to them did get a little distractingI very much need to thank my Goodreads colleague Bronwen for bringing The Club to my attention—it's outside my usual range so I might well have missed it while browsing on my own Thanks

pdf ↠ ¿ Leo Damrosch

Named one of the 10 Best Books of 2019 by the  New York Times Book Review  • A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019 •  A  Kirkus Best Book of 2019  “Damrosch brings the Club’s redoubtable personalities the brilliant minds the jousting wits the tender camaraderie to vivid life” New York Times Book Review “Magnificently entertaining” Washington Post In 1763 the p Sir you have but two topics yourself and me I am sick of both Samuel Johnson to James BoswellThe Club is a frame biography But it is certainly than its parts At its core Damrosch nails together small biographies of Johnson Boswell Joshua Reynolds Edmund Burke David Garrick Adam Smith Edward Gibbons and other minor charactersmembers of the Club But this book goes beyond this It is also a history of the age using the members of the club as a lens into England in the mid to late 18th Century And since the membership of the club involved writers poets historians economists artists actors etc it allows Damrosch the ability to peruse the age from multiple perspectives with Johnson and Boswell being the gravity at the center of the book Damrosch also does well to include the important women during this time AND to not sugar coat the poor behavior of many of the men especially Boswell It is a balanced work whose narrative keeps pace with the wit of its subjects I came here after reading Vol X last year of Durant's Story of Civilization Rousseau and Revolution Both do a good job of surveying many of the important minds of the timeNext up will be larger works by Boswell Johnson Smith Burke etc and bigger biographies of the same

doc The Club

The ClubAinter 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 This is a history of one of the original London clubs that developed as a place where the emerging bourgeois professional and literary class of London could gather for food drink fellowship and talking lots of talking The club members were self selected and it was hard to join Members included Joshua Reynolds Samuel Johnson Edmund Burke Adam Smith Edward Gibbon David Garrick and others eventually including James Boswell who wrote the great biography of Johnson The “Club” began in 1763 and continued into the 20th century as the London Literary Society One gets a good sense of what discussions at the club were like due to some example provided by the copious note taking of Boswell The heart of the story however is twofold First it is the story of Johnson and Boswell which is worthwhile on its own although readers who have not done so should read Boswell’s bio of Johnson The second focus of the book is to provide briefer lives of the most noteworthy of the initial group members along with some summaries of their critical worksSo the idea is that by looking at the life and works of the key members of the club one gets a better picture of the emerging intellectual life of London in the Georgian Era In this sense the book is similar to “The Metaphysical Club” by Louis Menand 2001 which provided a group biography of a discussion group after the Civil War ;;that included Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr William James and Charles Pierce among others Menand’s book was wonderful and won a Pulitzer Damrosch’s book is also superb and he has an astonishing cast of characters with which to work The club as a vehicle for discussing all the participants works sufficiently to tell a good story The major players are outstanding In addition Damrosch also works in a number of women associated with club members who also contributed to this rich intellectual life although the club never admitted women Johnson and Boswell are still the stars of this show but the supporting cast is worthwhile The chapters on David Garrick and the London Theatre scene are especially good