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Wits and Wives

Chisholm, Kate

ISBN 10: 0701169044 / ISBN 13: 9780701169046
Published by Vintage
New Condition: New Hardcover
From Kennys Bookstore (Olney, MD, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

2011. Hardcover. Dr Johnson is often thought of as a strident, overbearing conversationalist, a man who famously asserted that 'Women have all the liberty they should wish to have'. In this book, the author argues it is time to consider how Johnson lived his life, not just what he said. Num Pages: 304 pages, illustrations. BIC Classification: 2AB; BG; DSBD; DSK. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 235 x 162 x 30. Weight in Grams: 574. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780701169046

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Wits and Wives

Publisher: Vintage

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

About this title

Synopsis:

Dr Johnson is often thought of as a strident, overbearing conversationalist, a man who famously asserted that 'Women have all the liberty they should wish to have'. But in this revealing book Kate Chisholm argues it is time to consider how Johnson lived his life, not just what he said. She proposes that the heart of the man, the truth of his character, can more clearly be seen via his many - close, generous, equal - relationships with women.

At one end of the spectrum were Johnson's mother Sarah; his 'painted poppet' wife Tetty; and the women, like the prostitute Poll Carmichael and the blind poetess Anna Williams, he took in when they had nowhere else to go. At the other end were Mary Wollstonecraft, who refers to Johnson in Vindication of the Rights of Woman; Hester Thrale, renowned wit and Johnson's 'dear mistress'; and Elizabeth Carter, whose translation of Epictetus was an instant bestseller. In between were the poet and critic Charlotte Lennox, who invented the serialised novel; the accomplished portraitist Frances Reynolds, sister of Sir Joshua; the Derbyshire gentlewoman and Johnson's spiritual guide Hill Boothby; and the writer and abolitionist Hannah More.

By looking again at this controversial figure through the eyes of this extraordinary cast of female characters, we can discover the essential and unexpected Johnson. Kate Chisholm also brilliantly brings to life an exceptional moment in the history of women when, for a short period, talent, wit and independence were not only possible but rewarded.

Review:

"Wonderfully entertaining...with complete grasp of the material, Kate Chisholm introduces us to eight women who were important in Johnson's life." (Norma Clarke Literary Review)

"Re-positions an archetypal "great man" - Samuel Johnson - in a fresh light: as the focus of a network of female friends, bound by affection and rivalry" (Boyd Tonkin Independent)

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