Gordon Turnbull graduated with first class honours at the Australian National University. He subsequently took his Ph. D. at Yale University. He has taught in the English Departments of the University of Newcastle (New South Wales), Yale, and Smith College. In 1997 he succeeded as General Editor of the Yale Editions of the Private Papers of James Boswell.
Gordon Turnbull has made significant contributions to Boswellian scholarship since the early 1990s. In 1995, he co-edited, with Mary, Viscountess Eccles, Boswell's Book of Company, which was published by Lady Eccles in a limited number for the Roxburghe Club.1 Two years later, in 1997, he was appointed General Editor of the Yale Boswell Editions. As per March 2019, seven volumes of the Boswell Research Editions have been published under his management, although most have been edited by other associated scholars.
In 2010 was published the first revised edition of Boswell's London Journal since its original publication in 1950. The volume was edited by Turnbull and especially the annotations, originally by Pottle, were expanded and corrected. Turnbull's edition of the London Journal is today considered the authoritative version.