Boswell's Life of Johnson
Abridged and edited, with an introduction by Charles Grosvenor Osgood
Professor of English at Princeton University
In making this abridgement of Boswell's Life of Johnson I have
omitted most of Boswell's criticisms, comments, and notes, all of
Johnson's opinions in legal cases, most of the letters, and parts
of the conversation dealing with matters which were of greater
importance in Boswell's day than now. I have kept in mind an old
habit, common enough, I dare say, among its devotees, of opening
the book of random, and reading wherever the eye falls upon a
passage of especial interest. All such passages, I hope, have been
retained, and enough of the whole book to illustrate all the phases
of Johnson's mind and of his time which Boswell observed.
Loyal Johnsonians may look upon such a book with a measure of
scorn. I could not have made it, had I not believed that it would
be the means of drawing new readers to Boswell, and eventually of
finding for them in the complete work what many have already found--
days and years of growing enlightenment and happy companionship,
and an innocent refuge from the cares and perturbations of life.
Princeton, June 28, 1917.