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Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland

Samuel Johnson

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .English pronunciation.  I presented her with a book, which I happened to have about me, and should not be pleased to think that she forgets me.

In the evening the soldiers, whom we had passed on the road, came to spend at our inn the little money that we had given them.  They had the true military impatience of coin in their pockets, and had marched at least six miles to find the first place where liquor could be bought.  Having never been before in a place so wild and unfrequented, I was glad of their arrival, because I knew that we had made them friends, and to gain still more of their good will, we went to them, where they were carousing in the barn, and added something to our former gift.  All that we gave was not much, but it detained them in the barn, either merry or quarrelling, the whole night, and in the morning they went back to their work, with great indignation at the bad qualities of whisky.

We had gained so much the favour of our host, th. . . 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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