Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson Author:Edmund Fuller (Editor), James Boswell From the back cover: — "...Johnson answered him thus, "Sir, your wife, under pretense of keeping a bawdy-house, is a receiver of stolen goods.'" — "This man (Lord Chesterfield) I thought had been a Lord among wits; but I find, he is only a wit among Lords!" — "A gentleman who had been very unhappy in marriage, married immediately after his wife die... more »d: Johnson said, 'it was the triumph of hope over experience.'"
Here are three examples of the acerbic wit which made Samuel Johnson the ideal subject for the most famous biography ever written. Stylist, lexicographer, poet, raconteur, Johnson was first among eighteenth century English gentlemen. And thus his biographer Boswell:
"On my observing to him that a certain gentleman had remained silent the whole evening, in the midst of a very brilliant and learned society, "Sir, (said he,) the conversation overflowed, and drowned him.'"« less