Mrs. Boswell----

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 10/19/2015 - 14:40

I somewhere read that she was not to keen on Dr. Johnson, I wonder if there are more informations on their relations?



Hi Patrick.

Yes, Margaret Boswell was not overly keen on Johnson, as is clear from letters etc. printed in the Life of Johnson. I can go into further details later, but I would like to recommend Irma Lustig's article on the subject, "My Dear Enemy": Margaret Montgomerie Boswell in the Life of Johnson, published in Boswell: Citizen of the World, Man of Letters (1995). If you do not have access to that volume, you may be able to read some of it on Google Books by searching for the title of the article.

All the best,


Sammy Wilson (not verified)

Tue, 08/09/2016 - 14:26

I can certainly see why Margaret would have resented Johnson from his sole visit to the Boswell home in Edinburgh just before the famous trip to the Highlands. Boswell (as we know) was so infatuated with Johnson that he went to extreme lengths to have him comfortable in his house in James Court and no doubt have Margaret wait on him hand and foot. Though Boswell praise's his wife's hospitality ("My wife was quite as I should have expected her to be"), I would certainly argue that the pressure Boswell put on her to please their 'celebrity' guest can hardly have endeared her towards Johnson.

This is not to mention that Johnson's personality made him something of an oafish and ungrateful character at times. Upon his arrival in Edinburgh he managed to insult local hospitality by claiming his lemonade at the White Horse Inn did not have enough sugar in it and throwing his drink out of the window! Such rudeness was later applied to Boswell's father at Auchinleck House and to numerous hosts on the Highlands tour.