The Club by Leo Damrosch

The Club

Prize-winning biographer Leo Damrosch tells the story of “the Club,” a group of extraordinary writers, artists, and thinkers who gathered weekly at a London tavern In 1763, the painter Joshua Reynolds proposed to his friend Samuel Johnson that they invite a few friends to join them every Friday at the Turk’s Head Tavern in London to dine, drink, and talk until midnight. Eventually the group came to include among its members Edmund Burke, Ad...

Details The Club

TitleThe Club
Release DateMar 26th, 2019
PublisherYale University Press
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Biography, European Literature, British Literature

Reviews The Club

  • Marks54
    This is a history of one of the original London clubs that developed as a place where the emerging bourgeois professional and literary class of London could gather for food, drink, fellowship, and talking - lots of talking. The club members were self-selected and it was hard to join. Members included Joshua Reynolds, Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, Edward Gibbon, David Garrick, and others, eventually including James Boswell, who wrote t...
  • Fern Adams
    The Club was a group of polymaths who met in an inn once a week in the second half of the 1700s. Made up of actors, artists, intellectuals and writers, many of the members were people who remain well known to this day; Johnson, Boswell, Joshua Reynolds, Oliver Goldsmith, Edmund Burke and Adam Smith amongst others. I was expecting this book to be about the meetings themselves and what they entailed and discussed during these however rather it was ...
  • Brian Willis
    This book is a vital survey of the intellectual and literary circle of luminaries who came to intersect their interests in an informal meeting called "the Club" at a local tavern called the Mitre. Ostensibly, it also spotlights many of the socio-cultural personas of the late 18th century in Britain: Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, David Garrick, Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, Joshua Reynolds, and Edward Gibbon.Alongside his previous 2 books, a biograph...
  • Brian
    In the second half of the eighteenth century a remarkable group of men met weekly in the Turk’s Head Tavern in London. Known simply as The Club, the group included Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burke, Oliver Goldsmith, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Adam Smith and Edward Gibbon. This book traces the fortunes of those men as well as some of the talented women who were their friends and supporters like the writers Fanny Burne...
  • Angie Boyter
    An intellectual history of the late eighteenth century through the lives of some remarkable menEighteenth-century England was a lively place! Captain Cook was exploring the South Seas. Playwrights like Richard Sheridan and Oliver Goldsmith were writing plays we still enjoy, and David Garrick was acting in them. Adam Smith was inventing modern economics. And so on. Despite the breadth of the innovation, exploration, and accomplishments in that era...
  • Mandy
    The Club was a dining and drinking society founded in 1763 which met every Friday at the Turk’s Head Tavern in London. Among its members were many of the greatest intellects of the time, from Samuel Johnson to Adam Smith, Joshua Reynolds to Edward Gibbon, Edmund Burke to David Garrick – they are all to be found in this wonderfully entertaining group biography. It’s an excellent introduction to late 18th century literary and intellectual lif...
  • David
    An entertaining book for difficult times.It hits the middle overlapping region of the Venn diagram where the two circles are labelled “About an Interesting Group of Historical Figures” and “Not Depressing”. If you have only a vague idea who Johnson, Boswell, David Garrick, Edmund Burke, et al., were, the book might be easier going if you skim through the Wikipedia entries for the main characters first. Even the slightest previous acquaint...
  • JQAdams
    The subtitle is a better guide than the title or marketing materials here: while the book presents itself as a group biography of a weekly club of eminent late-1700s London personages, Damrosch mostly cares about Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, so you mostly get a double biography of those two with occasional, usually short chapters thrown in about other members. Or about non-club members who were important to Johnson or Boswell. People like He...
  • Alvaro de Menard
    There's not much to say about the titular Club, certainly not enough to fill 400 pages. Damrosch's strategy is to write about the lives of its members, and the general milieu they lived in. So, rather than a history of the club this book is mostly a series of independent biographies.Adam Smith gets one chapter (8 pages!), Joshua Reynolds gets one chapter, Edmund Burke gets one chapter, and so on. Johnson and Boswell get a few each, and some about...
  • Jeff Keehr
    This is largely a rehash of Boswell's The Life of Johnson with additional biographical details on each of the major members of the Literary Club that Johnson helped to found. It contains some interesting theories on the real nature of Johnson's relationship with Hester Thrale. It includes a lot of the stupid things that Boswell did and said during his lifetime, most of which we can do without. Boswell was an ass but he was also the artist who lef...
  • Katherine Davis
    When I recently finished a multi-year project of reading The Life of Johnson, I felt I had lost a dear friend, one I could visit any evening and be charmed and enlightened by. Seeking to revive the experience, I was pleased to see that a book about Johnson and his friends had been written recently. I enjoyed much of this book, especially learning about the differences between Boswell’s journals and what he recorded of Johnson and about the live...
  • Mshelton50
    Leo Damrosch has done a wonderful job capturing Doctor Johnson and James Boswell. In addition to familiarizing the reader with other Club members Sir Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burke, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Adam Smith, and Edward Gibbon, the book also conveys a nice sense of what late 18th century London was like. Finally, the biographical sketches of Hester Thrale Piozzi and Fanny Burney D'Arblay give an indication of what life was like at the ...
  • foundfoundfound
    reading, like kramer’s apartment makeover, is all about “levels”. damrosch pitches “the club” at an audience largely unfamiliar with the subj. but to anyone intimate with late augustan literature, or bozzer’s “life of johnson”, this survey won’t add much.
  • Cristie Underwood
    The author's painstaking research and attention to detail is obvious in the writing of this book. There were many facts that I only discovered after reading this!
  • Neil McGee
    Unique glimpse into the movers & shakers of a quarter of a millenia in the past; truly rare and very interesting. Recommended read.
  • Lehtomaki