The Fortunes of Francis Barber: The Story of the Enslaved Jamaican Who Became Samuel Johnson's Heir

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Product Details
Yale University Press
Publish Date
5.1 X 7.7 X 1.0 inches | 0.45 pounds

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About the Author
Michael Bundock is a barrister, a director of Dr. Johnson's House Trust and an Honorary Research Associate in the English Department at University College London.
"No longer a footnote to Johnson's story, Barber emerges as a man whose complicated story gives an inside view of what it was like to be a black man in 18th-century Britain."--Gretchen Gerzina, author of Black London
--Gretchen Gerzina
"Commendable not only for its careful research, but also for harnessing the considerable power of Barber's untold story. It will appeal to those who care about history, but it should appeal to those who care about humanity as well."--Sara Collins, author of The Confessions of Frannie Langton
--Sara Collins
"Elegant, precise, formidably informed. Bundock clears away a fog of falsehoods and rebalances the story."--John Carey, Sunday Times--John Carey "The Sunday Times" (4/19/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"Bundock weaves into the absorbing tale of Barber's life a wealth of material relating to black people in England, especially in London, throughout the 18th century... He writes with clarity, sympathy and tact."--Freya Johnston, Literary Review
--Freya Johnston "Literary Review" (6/1/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"A supremely skilled biography ... Barber's extraordinary and varied career allows Bundock to explore what life felt like for a black man in Georgian England."--Kathryn Hughes, Guardian--Kathryn Hughes "Guardian" (12/5/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"Bundock's lively biography offers a fresh perspective on Johnson and locates Barber both in Johnson's household and in the context of an empire beginning to debate the political and moral legitimacy of slavery."--Publishers Weekly-- "Publishers Weekly"
'[Bundock] imaginatively recreates the textures of life in 18th-century England and shows an admirable determination to question received wisdom'--Henry Hitchings, the Guardian.
--Henry Hitchings "The Guardian" (4/25/2015 12:00:00 AM)
"A remarkable work of detection, a biography of a black Briton from the eighteenth century that brings to life a rich and vital aspect of our shared history."--David Olusoga--David Olusoga
"Bundock is elegant and precise in this detailed account of the life of Samuel Johnson's black servant and eventual heir."--The Sunday Times 'Best Paperbacks of 2021'

"A remarkable work of detection, a biography of a black Briton from the eighteenth century that brings to life a rich and vital aspect of our shared history."--David Olusoga

"At last, the biography that Francis Barber deserves. A meticulous yet imaginative book which teases out the full humanity of Dr. Johnson's servant--and of the affection and hostility he generated among contemporaries."--James Walvin, author of The Zong: A Massacre, the Law and the End of Slavery

"Michael Bundock has written the first biography in over one hundred years of Francis Barber, Samuel Johnson's black servant and heir. Acknowledging the groundwork laid over a century ago, Bundock goes well beyond earlier commentators in exploring the evolving relationship between Johnson and Barber."--Vincent Carretta, University of Maryland

"Like James Boswell before him, Michael Bundock is a lawyer, and in his biography of Samuel Johnson's servant that background serves him well. Reading the evidence, some newly discovered, he brings Francis Barber to life, deepens our understanding of Johnson, enriches our sense of quotidian eighteenth-century London, and provides an unusual contribution to black history in England."--Robert Folkenflik, University of California, Irvine

"The Fortunes of Francis Barber is the most complete and accurate account of the life of Francis Barber that has ever been produced or is ever likely to be produced. This book far outstrips all earlier accounts."--Robert DeMaria, Jr., Vassar College