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Friendships Across Ages: Johnson & Boswell; Holmes & Laski considers each man and goes on to compare two unlikely, but pivotal, friendships. Through their writing and publishing, young Boswell and Laski both served their much older friends, Johnson and Holmes respectively, in brilliant fashion. Boswell's biography preserves Johnson for the present day...
Friendships Across Ages: Johnson & Boswell; Holmes & Laski considers each man and goes on to compare two unlikely, but pivotal, friendships. Through their writing and publishing, young Boswell and Laski both served their much older friends, Johnson and Holmes respectively, in brilliant fashion. Boswell's biography preserves Johnson for the present day reader as richly as any other biography has ever done. Though less commonly acknowledged, Laski preserves Holmes in a similar fashion. If Johnson's fame lies largely not on his prolific literary efforts, but rather on his persona as captured by his exchanges with Boswell, then Holmes's place in history, too, cannot be placed solely or even primarily on his prolific professional legal writing and opinions, but more broadly on his persona, captured best in his lengthy correspondence with Laski.Both Boswell and Laski were outcasts from the societies in which they lived: the former a Scot, the latter a Jew. Both were, and continue to be, scorned: Laski as a boastful, prevaricating self-promoter, Boswell as a buffoon, lecher, and drunk. However, each managed to befriend a much older man, a great man of his age, and carried on for twenty years an historically important relationship that was partly junior to mentor, partly son to father, but mostly stimulating mind to stimulating mind.
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