Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Rivka Swenson


This project highlights aspects of Hester Piozzi’s approach to biography in Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson LL. D. During the Last Twenty Years of His Life in order to analyze her use of accumulated cultural and social capital. I highlight similarities between Anecdotes and Samuel Johnson’s model for biography given in Rambler #60 and show how Piozzi adheres to his advice as she characterizes Johnson as a pious genius, intolerantly opinionated, and self-indulgent, yet unwilling to accept those qualities in others. I analyze how her editorial choices characterize her as a reliable source of information and a blameless victim of Johnson’s need for attention. This study proves Anecdotes and the corresponding entries in Thraliana are important because her deliberate revisioning of her history speaks to her ability to manipulate social expectations in order to revive her literary career and actively contribute to eighteenth-century British economy, culture, and society.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2013

Available for download on Tuesday, May 11, 2213