Boswell's Influence

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/31/2016 - 00:18

Hi, I'm writing a paper for a college British Literature course and was wondering if anyone could lend me a hand. I've found a lot of writers that potentially influenced Boswell's writings, but have had some difficulty finding writers that he influenced. The database of this website is fantastically large, but I'm not sure where to start looking. Can anyone point me in the right direction to at least get me started?



john cross (not verified)

Thu, 06/02/2016 - 01:29

You can never go past the people & place that 'luckily' saved so much of Boswells material; 1. The Yale University Papers & Professor F. A. Pottle's great contributions >> [Private Papers of Boswells - "Journals diaries & memoranda", & "The life of Johnson"] both printed 1952. 2. The later post 1960/70's writers, some whom were from or lived near to the Boswell Estate? 3. William Heinemann Press, Great Russel St., London?
Good luck on your enterprise, it has been some time since I have noticed someone take on this often lost subject.

Thomas (not verified)

Sat, 06/04/2016 - 14:35

C. S. Lewis claimed to be inspired by Boswell's Life of Johnson, although it isn't entirely obvious from his writings where that influence sets in.

Conan Doyle made a reference to Boswell in the first part of the first Sherlock Holmes short story, A Scandal in Bohemia. It is possible that the character of Dr. Watson was in some ways inspired by Boswell, although it must be admitted that there are great differences in the personal traits of the two.

The mystery writer Lilian de la Torre wrote a number of short stories about the exploits of Dr. Sam: Johnson, Detector. De la Torre basically put Johnson in Holmes' place and Boswell in Watson's, and the dialogue between the two characters was a sort of merge between the dialogue in the Life of Johnson and that in the Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories.

And then, of course, Boswell set an entirely new standard for biographical writing.

All the best,