The Club: Book summary and reviews of The Club by Leo Damrosch

The Club

Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age

by Leo Damrosch

The Club by Leo Damrosch X
The Club by Leo Damrosch
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Book Summary

Prize-winning biographer Leo Damrosch tells the story of "the Club," a group of extraordinary writers, artists, and thinkers who gathered weekly at a London tavern.

In 1763, the painter 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 brings 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This effervescent history shines a light on the extraordinary origins of a club which still exists to this day." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Late-18th-century Britain comes brilliantly alive in a vibrant intellectual history." - Kirkus

"[Damrosch] narrates with a compelling mixture of provoking gossip, shrewd commentary and masterly scholarship. He is so intimate and engaging, that I could well believe he once drank punch and compared notes with Boswell at the Mitre Tavern." - Richard Holmes, author of The Age of Wonder

"The Club is a stimulating and delightful work. The portraits of Boswell, Gibbon, and Burke are extraordinary condensations granting us accurate visions of complex personalities. Leo Damrosch has addressed himself to common readers with authentic gusto." - Harold Bloom

"Brilliant, lucid, and enjoyable ... With perfectly chosen anecdotes, The Club vividly evokes the period." - Norma Clarke, author of Dr Johnson's Women

"Leo Damrosch's book is an extraordinary achievement. A lively and engaging account of the coming together of a group of famously gifted individuals - the Club, a virtual microcosm of the vibrant world of mid-to-late eighteenth-century London." - William C. Dowling, Rutgers University

This information about The Club shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Leo Damrosch

Leo Damrosch is the Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature Emeritus at Harvard University. His previous works include the National Book Critics Circle Award winner Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World, and Eternity's Sunrise: The Imaginative World of William Blake. He lives in Newton, MA.

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