James Boswell’s Life of Johnson: An Edition of the Original Manuscript
in Four Volumes, Volume 4, 1780–1784
Editor: Thomas F. Bonnell
This volume is the fourth and final one in the Yale Boswell Editions’ genetic transcription of Boswell’s heavily revised manuscript of his biography of Johnson. Designed as a research supplement to the Hill-Powell version of the Life and employing the complex but accessible system devised for the series by Marshall Waingrow, the edition traces Boswell’s processes of composition from first draft through publication. It restores much deleted material, recovers passages lost or overlooked during the printing, and reveals a host of other typesetting errors, many of which stand in all editions of the Life to date. Bonnell’s annotation clarifies a wide range of textual and editorial issues and sheds new light on the scope and challenge of Boswell’s project.
Thomas F. Bonnell, Professor of English at Saint Mary’s College, Indiana, is the author of The Most Disreputable Trade: Publishing the Classics of English Poetry, 1765–1810 (Oxford, 2006). He edited the third volume of the Life of Johnson manuscript edition series, covering the years 1776–1780, which appeared in 2012.