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Keeping Boswell in repair Print E-mail
Written by Bryan Reid   
Monday, 15 September 2014 12:08

“Keeping Boswell in Constant Repair" is the title of Gordon Turnbull’s 2014 Fleeman Memorial Lecture. He explains:

The popularity of Boswell's Life of Johnson somehow manages to survive the assaults, many of them fully justified, on its adequacy as a comprehensive or veridical rendering of the real or historical Johnson, especially of Johnson the author.

This paper argues that argument over the validity of the depiction was precisely Boswell's point, and that the generation of a copious and revisionist Johnsonian biographical and critical industry is the successful outcome of his deeper agenda.

Beneath Boswell's vaunting claims for the authoritative authenticity of his depiction lie deeper hesitancies, and his decision to bequeath to posterity the diaries, the letters he solicited and from which he culled selectively, and his other working papers, precisely allows and indeed foments an interrogatory scrutiny of what he chose to publish in 1791.

What Boswell offered is a complex contribution to that at which the Boswellian version of Johnson himself excelled: conversation, deliberately provocative, at once combative and consolatory.

New venue for AGM Print E-mail
Written by Bryan Reid   
Monday, 15 September 2014 11:59

There will be a new venue for the 2014 JSA Annual General Meeting and David Fleeman Lecture, to be given by our Patron Dr Gordon Turnbull, on October 25.

The AGM will begin at 3.30pm sharp, and the Fleeman Lecture at 5pm.

The meeting will be held at Tonic House, 386 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, between Queen Street and Market Street. Trams serve both Flinders Street and Collins Street from either Southern Cross or Flinders St stations.

Wit and scholarship for the 20th  Fleeman Print E-mail
Written by Paul Tankard   
Monday, 30 December 2013 11:29

Kate Burridge: “Magnificence of Promise”: Johnson, advertising and the anodyne necklace

Complaints about advertising are a mainstay of cultural criticism, and we should not be surprised that Samuel Johnson should have cast a wry and critical eye upon advertising in his own time.  This was the subject of the JSA’s twentieth annual Fleeman Memorial Lecture, given a witty and scholarly treatment by Professor Kate Burridge of Monash University.

According to Prof. Burridge,  readily identifiable advertisements were printed by Caxton, making the practice as old as printing in England.  But the growth of consumerism and of newspapers in the eighteenth century meant that the number and range of advertisements grew rapidly over Johnson’s lifetime.
Varied program for 2014 seminar Print E-mail
Written by Bryan Reid   
Friday, 22 August 2014 11:02

The fascinating story of Four Oaks Farm, where for over 60 years Donald and Mary Hyde built the great Johnson Collection, now held at Harvard, was a feature of the JSA’s 2014 seminar, held on July 5.

The paper was given by John Byrne, President of the JSA who corresponded with Mary Hyde for twenty years, and served with her as Governor of Dr Johnson's House. Last year at the Houghton Library, Harvard, he was given private access to the Hyde treasures.

Variety the essence of the 2013 Seminar Print E-mail
Written by Bryan Reid   
Monday, 01 July 2013 15:38

The 2013 Annual Seminar of the JSA will be held on Saturday July 6 at the English Speaking Union, 146 West Toorak Road, South Yarra, starting at 11 am. Doors open at 10.30am for registration.

There will be a highly-varied presentation of papers and readings, following the recentlyintroduced pattern  for the seminar program.

Included will be an introduction to the  music of Frederick the Great, by Barbara Niven and two major papers, one on Edmund Burke by Barrie Sheppard and one on a history of the great American Johnsonians, Donald and Mary Hyde, by our President, John Byrne. The ever-popular Nick Hudson will give a talk on Johnson, a Child of the Revolution?

“Stub” papers will be devlivered by Bryan Reid, Barbara Niven and John Wiltsire, and readings by Geoff Brand and Bronwen Hickman.

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