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'Boz & Co' traces the attempt by James Boswell, the eighteenth-century biographer of Dr Johnson, to settle on a single, cohesive identity. The play explores his intimacy with three people: Zaide, the lively, unconventional blue-stocking writer with whom he has a tumultuous relationship, simultaneously wanting to marry her and being prevented by his own chauvinism; Dr Johnson, the wheezing literary sage of the coffee-houses, whom Boswell initially turned to as a father figure, but whom he eventually comes to regard as a pompous old fool; and John Reid, a felon convicted of sheep-stealing whom Boswell defended arduously in the courts, but is finally hanged. 'Boz & Co' suggests that far from being established truths, both history and human identity are created.
Equal second place in the 1998 Griffin Award.
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Starts on page 5
EXTRACT: He was pale as death, but when they put the rope round his neck, he suddenly stood upright and ate the sweet orange they gave him. How wonderful to be in London to witness such things. [A seriously considered opinion] If it had been me - I should have placed the pips in my handkerchief, not spat them out.Adult themes