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New James Boswell Car Sticker

As you can see from the photo above, I love reading James Boswell. So do a lot of people. He's most famous for writing The Life of Samuel Johnson, which is generally considered to be the greatest biography ever written. But he also wrote thousands of letters and kept voluminous diaries. They were frank. He held nothing back, so his family hid them away in trunks. They were rediscovered in the 1920s, and the family, needing cash, parted with them. Boswell's London Journal, 1762-1763, the first collection to be published in 1950, was a surprise bestseller. It's the perfect introduction to this incredibly complex man. He was considered a buffoon while he was alive, a Johnson hanger-on, though he had written the well-received An Account...

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A Portrait of Zélide, Belle de Zuylen

Above are my three copies of Geoffrey Scott's The Portrait of Zélide. It was published in 1927. It's an absolutely terrific biography, which is why it keeps getting republished with introductions by literary superstars. Each one is practically as brilliant as the book itself. George Dangerfield writes his in 1959. Shirley Hazzard and Richard Dunn, in 1977. Richard Holmes, like Scott, a winner of the James Tait Black Prize, writes in 2004. Holmes informs us that Scott had told four different women "that Zélide’s biography was secretly and lovingly dedicated to them alone.” The women included "Mary Berenson, Edith Wharton, his wife Lady Sybil, and Vita Sackville-West." So who is this writer that is so undeservedly unknown today? She was an aristocratic Dutch woman...

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