The General Correspondence of James Boswell, 1757-1763
The 121 letters in this volume were exchanged between James Boswell and twenty-six correspondents between 1760 and 1763. The letters, all but one written after Boswell’s first brief escapade in London, concern the period up to and including his second momentous visit there in 1763. During this period Boswell savors the delights of London’s high life and low, first meets Samuel Johnson, and publishes his first book-length work, a facetious collection of letters between him and his mercurial fellow Scot, Andrew Erskine—a publication that his dismayed father, Lord Auchinleck, considers embarrassing and ill-advised.
Young Boswell corresponds with Irish elocutionist Thomas Sheridan (father of the playwright, and Boswell’s most important mentor before Johnson), William McQuhae (later an eminent figure in the Scottish church), the rakish aristocrat Alexander Montgomerie, 10th Earl of Eglinton, and other notables. Together these letters set the context in which Boswell writes his most compelling and popular piece of autobiographical writing, the London Journal, 1762-1763.
Copublished with Edinburgh University Press