Boswell, James biographical name
(born Oct. 29, 1740, Edinburgh, Scot.died May 19, 1795, London, Eng.) Scottish friend and biographer of Samuel Johnson. Boswell, a lawyer, met Johnson in 1763 and visited him often (1772–84), making a superlatively detailed record in his journals of Johnson's conversations. His two-volume Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (1791) is regarded as one of the greatest English biographies. His Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (1785) is mainly an account of Johnson's responses to their 1773 trip to Scotland. The 20th-century publication of Boswell's journals showed him to have been also one of the world's greatest diarists.
Boswell, detail of an oil painting from the studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1786; in the National
—Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London
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