The most famous friendship in English literature arose between a distinguished eighteenth-century writer and his young admirer. The result is this brilliant narrative and its enduring portrait of an age as well as person. James Boswell profiles critic, author, and poet Samuel Johnson, recapturing the sage's wit and conversational style on topics from literature and politics to religion and gossip. Much of their association was conducted from afar; from his home in Edinburgh, Boswell visited London for several weeks each year, where the men socialized in taverns, in Johnson's dwelling, and at dinner with friends — a circle that included playwright Oliver Goldsmith, painter Sir Joshua Reynolds, actor David Garrick, and other luminaries. Boswell's remarkably modern approach interweaves letters and a series of vignettes that he called "scenes." Published in 1791, the book has become far more familiar than Johnson's own works, and this edition provides an accessible, abridged edition of the classic biography.