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The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson

James Boswell

Book Overview: 

An anecdotal account of the journey undertaken by James Boswell and Samuel Johnson to the Scottish Highlands and the Hebrides Islands

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Dum dubia est inter spemque metumque salus;
  Sed fatale malum domuit, quodque astra malignum
  Credimus, iratam vel genuisse Stygem.
  Extorsit Lachesi cultros, Pestique venenum
  Abstulit, et tantos non sinit esse metus.
  Quis tandem arte nova domitam mitescere Pestem
  Credat, et antiquas ponere posse minas
  Post tot mille neces, cumulataque funera busto,
  Victa jacet, parvo vulnere, dira Lues.
  Aetheriae quanquam spargunt contagia flammae,
  Quicquid inest istis ignibus, ignis erit.
  Delapsae coelo flammae licet acrius urant,
  Has gelida exstingui non nisi morte putas
  Tu meliora paras victrix Medicina; tuusque,
  Pestis qua superat cuncta, triumphus eris.
  Vive liber, victis febrilibus ignibus; unus
  Te s. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Best of friends, James Boswell and Samuel Johnson, venture into the wild, barbarous country of Scotland. (It turns out not to be quite so barbarous, but they meet a lot of wonderful people along the way.)
As travelogues go, I have to say that I found it a bit on the dull side. Still, there are som...more

Johnson observes Scotland and its islands while Boswell observes Johnson. Boswell must be the original groupie and certainly hung on every word of Johnson's no matter how trivial. The prose style is of its time, which helps a lot because both these men could spin a yarn.

Right, I promise I will put a book up soon that I didn't have to read for English, but since we had one almost every week, I haven't had time for reading much else lately, and they're also the ones on my shelves. As for "Journey to the Western Islands", there's a lot more to say about it than you...more

In the autumn of l773 Boswell convinced Johnson, who was usually highly critical of all things Scottish, to go on a voyage to Scotland, traveling from the cities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen and the lowlands to the Highlands and then to some of the Hebrides islands, off the west coast of Scotland, a...more

3.5 stars

I think reading these two journals is a bit different since the first one by Dr Johnson (117 pages) is focused on various cities/towns while the second by Boswell (349 pages) on successive dates along the route. I longed to read both some years ago and when I finished reading them, my ve...more

Let's just say that going on holidays with Samuel Johnson would be a peculiar form of torture. Absolutely fascinating historically though!

Johnson's section is easier reading - lofty and latinate, his observations funny when not insightful. Boswell's journal is less considered, recorded primarily as a memory-aid. This is its strength and its weakness: there is much which a retrospective hand might have pruned, countless names and ta...more

Good company on my own recent vacation travels. In 1773, Johnson and his trusty pal Boswell took a trip to the Highlands and Inner Hebrides of Scotland, a world Johnson clearly viewed as wild and dangerous (as it mostly was then). His account is part of a long tradition, of course, from the Roman...more

Read Dr Johnson's part of this volume; don't care enough about Boswell to read his. Johnson's is, as expected, full of witty insights and powerful moral judgments.

Two buds go for a romp in the Highlands of Scotland.

In A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland... we get a glimpse of the bromance between dictionary man Samuel Johnson and lawyer James Boswell as they hike through the hills and lochs down to the isles along the west coast. Boswell, a Scot,...more

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