The Life of Samuel Johnson is a biography of Dr. Samuel Johnson written by the young and liberal James Boswell. The book is told to be regarded as an important stage in the development of the modern genre of biography and many have claimed it as the greatest biography written in the English language.
While Boswell's personal acquaintance with his subject only began in 1763, when Johnson was 54 years old, Boswell covered the entirety of Johnson's life by means of additional research. The biography takes many critical liberties with Johnson's life, as Boswell makes various changes to Johnson's quotations and even censors many comments. Regardless of these actions, modern biographers have found Boswell's biography as an important source of information. The work was popular among early audiences and with modern critics, but some of the modern critics believe that the work cannot be considered a proper biography.
Before James Boswell could publish his biography of Johnson, there were many other friends of the Doctor's who published or were in the middle of publishing their own biographies or collections on Johnson: John Hawkins, Thrale, Frances Burney, Anna Seward, Elizabeth Montagu, Hannah More, and Horace Walpole among many. The last edition Boswell worked on was the third, which was published in 1799.
James Boswell was a lawyer, diarist, and author was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. James is best known for his biography of Dr Samuel Johnson. On 30 July 1762, Boswell took his oral law exam, which he passed with some skill. Upon this success, Lord Auchinleck decided to raise his son's allowance to £200 a year and allowed him to return to London. It was during his second spell there that Boswell wrote his London Journal and, on 16 May 1763, met Johnson for the first time. The pair became friends almost immediately. Johnson eventually nicknamed him ""Bozzy"".