In 1773, James Boswell made a long-planned journey across the Scottish Highlands with his English friend Samuel Johnson; the two spent more than a hundred days together. Their tour of the Hebrides resulted in two books, A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (1775), a kind of locodescriptive ethnography and Johnson's most important work between his Shakespeare edition and his Lives of the Poets. The other, Boswell's Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson (1785), a travel narrative experimenting with biography, the first application of the techniques he would use in his Life of Samuel Johnson (1791). These two works form a natural pair and, owing that they cover much of the same material, are often read together, focusing on the Scottish highlands.
The text presents a lightly-edited version of both works, preserving the original orthography and corrected typographical errors to fit modern grammar standards. The introduction and notes provide clear and concise explanations on Johnson and Boswell's respective careers, their friendship and grand biographical projects. It also examines the Scottish Enlightenment, the status of England and Scotland during the Reformation through to the Union of the Crowns, and the Jacobite
Introduction Note on the Text A Note about Money Short Titles Chronology Select Bibliography Samuel Johnson, A Journey to the Western Islands James Boswell, The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides Explanatory Notes Monarchs of England, Scotland, and Great Britain Glossary Biographical Index
Jack Lynch is Professor of English at Rutgers University-Newark. He is the author of The Age of Elizabeth in the Age of Johnson and Deception and Detection in Eighteenth-Century Britain, and editor of Samuel Johnson in Context and The Oxford Handbook of British Poetry, 1660-1800. Celia B. Barnes is Associate Professor of English at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Her academic research focuses especially on the relationship between friendship and authorship in eighteenth-century letters, diaries, and other minor genres.