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James Boswell Famous Scots Series   By: (1857-)

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First Page:

JAMES BOSWELL

FAMOUS SCOTS SERIES

The following Volumes are now ready:

THOMAS CARLYLE. By Hector C. Macpherson. ALLAN RAMSAY. By Oliphant Smeaton. HUGH MILLER. By W. Keith Leask. JOHN KNOX. By A. Taylor Innes. ROBERT BURNS. By Gabriel Setoun. THE BALLADISTS. By John Geddie. RICHARD CAMERON. By Professor Herkless. SIR JAMES Y. SIMPSON. By Eve Blantyre Simpson. THOMAS CHALMERS. By Professor W. Garden Blaikie. JAMES BOSWELL. By W. Keith Leask.

[Illustration:

JAMES BOSWELL

BY W KEITH LEASK

FAMOUS ·SCOTS· ·SERIES·

PUBLISHED BY OLIPHANT ANDERSON & FERRIER. EDINBURGH AND LONDON

]

The designs and ornaments of this volume are by Mr Joseph Brown, and the printing from the press of Messrs Turnbull & Spears, Edinburgh.

~To~

GEORGE BIRKBECK HILL, D.C.L.; M.A. Pembroke (Johnson's) College, Oxford;

CHIEF OF JOHNSON SCHOLARS AND EDITORS; AND HIMSELF MOST "CLUBABLE" OF MEN.

PREFACE

The literature of the Johnsonian period has assumed, in spite of the lexicographer's own dislike of that adjective, prodigious dimensions. After the critical labours of Malone, Murphy, Croker, J. B. Nichols, Macaulay, Carlyle, Rogers, Fitzgerald, Dr Hill and others, it may appear hazardous to venture upon such a well ploughed field where the pitfalls are so numerous and the materials so scattered. I cannot, however, refrain from the expression of the belief that in this biography of Boswell will be found something that is new to professed students of the period, and much to the class of general readers that may lead them to reconsider the verdict at which they may have arrived from the brilliant but totally misleading essay by Lord Macaulay. At least, the writer cherishes the hope that it will materially add to the correct understanding and the enjoyment of Boswell's great work, the Life of Johnson .

My best thanks are due to J. Pearson & Co., 5 Pall Mall Place, London, for the use of unpublished letters by Boswell and of his boyish common place book. And if "our Boswell" could indulge an honest pride in availing himself of a dedication to Sir Joshua Reynolds, as to a person of the first eminence in his department, so may I entertain the same feeling in inscribing this sketch to Dr Hill who, amid the pressure of other Johnson labours, has yet found time to revise the proof sheets of my book.

W. K. L.

ABERDEEN, December 1896.

CONTENTS

PAGE

CHAPTER I

EARLY DAYS MEETS JOHNSON 1740 63 9

CHAPTER II

THE CONTINENT CORSICA 1763 66 35

CHAPTER III

EDINBURGH BAR STRATFORD JUBILEE 1766 69 54

CHAPTER IV

LOVE AFFAIRS LITERARY CLUB 1766 73 76

CHAPTER V

TOUR TO THE HEBRIDES 1773 88

CHAPTER VI

EDINBURGH LIFE DEATH OF JOHNSON 1773 84 113

CHAPTER VII

THE ENGLISH BAR DEATH 1784 95 122

CHAPTER VIII

IN LITERATURE 143

JAMES BOSWELL

CHAPTER I

EARLY DAYS MEETS JOHNSON. 1740 1763

'Behind yon hills, where Lugar flows.' BURNS.

'Every Scotchman,' says Sir Walter Scott, 'has a pedigree. It is a national prerogative, as inalienable as his pride and his poverty. My birth was neither distinguished nor sordid.' What, however, was but a foible with Scott was a passion in James Boswell, who has on numerous occasions obtruded his genealogical tree in such a manner as to render necessary some acquaintance with his family and lineage. The family of Boswell, or Bosville, dates from the Normans who came with William the Conqueror to Hastings. Entering Scotland in the days of the sore saint, David I., they had spread over Berwickshire and established themselves, at least in one branch, at Balmuto in Fife... Continue reading book >>




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