Samuel Johnson: A Life

Helen Deutsch writes:

One of the great strengths of Nokes’s biography (which at times works like a novel, using free indirect discourse to enter into the consciousness of Johnson and other characters) is his original reading of Johnson as capable of exploiting the contrast between his ‘appearance – shaking, twitching, pockmarked … and distinctly careless about his dress’ and his ‘remarkable powers of locution’. Nokes focuses throughout on Johnson’s independence, his taking control of situations that threatened to render him powerless.

(LRB 9 February 2012)