Auckland Libraries: Johnson and Boswell in the Hebrides

Johnson and Boswell in the Hebrides

In this episode, we return to the friendship between Samuel Johnson and James Boswell by focusing on a trip the pair made to Scotland. Both authors wrote about their trip in quite different ways.
Johnson’s book has a rational, almost anthropological take on their journey.
While Boswell’s writing about Johnson fascinated and repelled readers in the eighteenth century because he blurred the distinction between public and private life.



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See the books

A journey to the western islands of Scotland, 1775.

This book is about the journey Samuel Johnson and James Boswell took through the islands of the Hebrides, in Scotland, in the late summer and autumn of 1773. Johnson records and comments on many elements of Highland culture.


A journal of a tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, 1807.


Adam Sisman describes the writing in this book as “full of gossip and humour, enjoyable most of all because of the interplay between the writer and the companion, indeed much of the fun of Boswell’s journal is from his own presence in the story.”


A late voyage to St Kilda, 1698


Martin Martin's account of his voyage to St. Kilda is a classic of Scottish topography. This map of St Kilda includes an auxiliary map of islands in the Outer Hebrides and has some pictorial elements.


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Samuel Johnson. A journey to the western islands of Scotland, 1775, and James Boswell. A journal of a tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, 1807 [eBook]


Johnson and Boswell in the Hebrides reading list


Kura Heritage Collections Online



Auckland Libraries:Johnson and Boswell in the Hebrides In this Meet a Rare Book podcast, we return to the friendship between Johnson and Boswell by focusing on a trip the pair made to Scotland.