This seminar will provide a useful
and entertaining introduction to the lives and works of two extraordinary
eighteenth-century Londoners. Samuel Johnson was both an author and a critic.
He was brilliant, opinionated, eccentric, entertaining and a bit scary. Johnson
became famous for many things, including his poetry, his journalism and his
huge (and hugely important) dictionary of the English language. James Boswell
was a young Scotsman who went to London
to have a good time and to become famous. He attached himself to Johnson and
gathered a huge amount of material for a biography, The Life of Samuel Johnson, a landmark in the history of this genre
which indeed made its author very well known. Johnson hated Scotland;
however, Boswell persuaded him to join him in a tour to his home country. They
both published their travel journals (Boswell: A Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, Johnson: A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland). It was only in the
1920s that another major text by Boswell was discovered, a very intimate diary
providing a vivid account of a person’s life in eighteenth-century London. This
was one of the most surprising and exciting finds in the history of English
literature. So all in all we will be working on two unusual, larger-than-life
characters who between themselves produced what many regard as the most
important dictionary, the most important biography and one of the most
important diaries in the English language.
will be made available (see below). Very useful background knowledge on key cultural
and literary contexts of Boswell and Johnson’ s time can be found here: Christoph Heyl, Kleine Englische Literaturgeschichte. J.B. Metzler. ISBN-13:
Good preparation for each session, active participation. Also anything that
might be required according to your Modulhandbuch / Studienordnung. As always: think, enjoy (!), annotate, and look things up if necessary.
We currently assume that teaching will be
entirely on campus and in person. This, however, depends on the further
development of the Pandemic. Watch this
space, and read all e-mails sent to your official university e-mail address.
join the seminar´s Moodle room (Boswell
and Johnson) where the reader will be made available. You will receive further
information, including the Moodle password, via e-mail. Please make sure to use
and check your official university e-mail addresses at all times. Do not use
any other addresses, and do not have e-mails sent to your university address forwarded
to other addresses.
Just in case your application is rejected by the LSF system: If you want
to do this course because you are genuinely interested, you will be most
welcome, no matter what LSF says. Please get in touch with
firstname.lastname@example.org who will enrol you manually. The worst that might
happen to you is that you cannot do a Leistungsnachweis
if you lack the formal requirements.