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May 27, 2006 4:25 PM | | Comments (1)



Dear Mr. Weeks,
I just wanted to say how glad I was to read your posting from 2007 about Walter Jackson Bate's biography of Dr. Johnson. Not long ago, yet another biography appeared, and I was dismayed that the reviewer, I believe in the New York Times, never mentioned Bate, perhaps because he was too busy discussing the author's hypotheses about Johnson's sexual inclinations.
I had the great good fortune to be in Bate's class, "The Age of Johnson," in the spring of 1968, when he was finishing up the biography. At that point, he was so permeated by Johnson that it was hard to tell them apart. One felt that he partook of Johnson's moral stature. He also empathized so deeply with Johnson's internal agonies that it was almost painful to listen to him, and when he told stories about Johnson, the room would be utterly still.
Thank you for the pleasure your essay gave me. I hope it has sent and continues to send new readers to Bate's book.
Peter Crane


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