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James Boswell

[9th Laird of Auchinleck]

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James Boswell, 9th Laird of Auchinleck (29 October 1740 – 19 May 1795) was a lawyer, diarist, and author born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is best known for the biography he wrote of one of his contemporaries, the English literary figure Samuel Johnson, which the modern Johnsonian critic Harold Bloom has claimed is the greatest biography written in the English language.

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Quotations

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  • ''There was nothing to equal it in the whole history of the Corps Diplomatique.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, May 15, 1776, p. 776, Oxford University Press (1980). Bu...
  • ''I have seen many a bear led by a man: but I never before saw a man led by a bear.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, May 10, 1773, footnote, p. 548, Oxford University Press (198...
  • I teazed him with fanciful apprehensions of unhappiness. A moth having fluttered round the candle, and burnt itself, he laid hold of this little incident to admonish me; saying, with a sly look, and i...
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, Aug. 6, 1763, p. 333, Oxford University Press (1980). Jo...
  • Friendship, "the wine of life," should, like a well-stocked cellar, be continually renewed; and it is consolatory to think, that although we can seldom add what will equal the generous first growths o...
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, 1755, pp. 213-4, Oxford University Press (1980).
  • ''EDWARDS: "You are a philosopher, Dr. Johnson. I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher; but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in."''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, April 17, 1778, p. 957, Oxford University Press (1980).
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