Mentoring and mimicry in Boswell's Life of Johnson
English & World Languages
"Mimicry and Mentoring in Boswell's Life of Johnson," seeks to consider the Johnson-Boswell mentoring relationship beyond the interpersonal, psychologically-grounded perspective most often associated with mentoring by interrogating the textual traces of their exchange. Noting that Boswell falls into the eighteenth-century tradition of gestural and physical mimicking, practiced by actors such as Garrick, Foote, and Murphy, this paper examines instances of textual mimicry in Boswell's Life of Johnson, arguing that this practice simultaneously endeavors to biographically preserve Johnson's presence for posterity as well as appropriate Johnson's voice in a bid for mastery over Johnson as part of the dynamic of the protégé's attempt to challenge, and ultimately usurp, the authority of the mentor. Copyright © 2010 University of Pennsylvania Press. All rights reserved.
Lee, A. W. (2010). Mentoring and Mimicry in Boswell's Life of Johnson. The Eighteenth Century, 51(1-2), 67–85. https://doi.org/10.1353/ecy.2010.0012