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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A tip of the hat to James Boswell, 18th century proto-blogger

October 29th marks the 267th anniversary of the birth of James Boswell, who is most famously remembered as the biographer of the English literary lion Dr. Samuel Johnson.

Boswell had a habit of meticulously journaling the details of his everyday conversations and interactions, and it was from this revealing record of his time spent socializing with Dr. Johnson that he constructed Life of Samuel Johnson (1791). It's a volume that's considered one of the greatest biographies ever written in the English language because of the depth of the very personal portrayal of its subject.

My good friend and accomplished artist George Kokines has taken to calling me Boswell because of my own tendency to catalog the events of my daily life on this blog. He's also suspicious that I'm committing to memory his many fascinating tales for future use in a biographical tome. As good as George's material is, I don't think I could write anything that approached the celebrity of Boswell's work.

Instead I'll humbly doff my cap to a man who blazed a trail for writers wanting to elevate the mundane jottings of a journal to literary greatness.
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