Everything James Boswell


Discuss anything related to the great biographer, his friends and family, his life, his Auchinleck estate, etc.

Did Boswell sup on 'devilled bones'?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 01/25/2017 - 13:33

Dear Boswell experts,

I am an editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. Whilst revising the word 'devilled', I have come across a mysterious reference to a comment made by James Boswell that we can't find in his writings. I was wondering if any of you reading this forum could help us find this 'missing' passage from Boswell's writings.

No Abolition of Slavery

Submitted by thf1977 on Tue, 01/10/2017 - 10:32

The webmaster inadvertently deleted a recent post by a visitor to this site. The original poster asked for any criticism of Boswell's 1791 poem No Abolition of Slavery, which the poster guessed was written tongue-in-cheek rather than as actual support for slavery.

To my knowledge, it has hitherto been the consensus of scholars that Boswell was an apologist for slavery, whereas Dr. Johnson was against it. But there may be some analysis and criticism that I don't know about.


Best wishes,


Remarkable scene recorded in Dr. Burney's memoirs

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/21/2016 - 17:26

I recently found a journal entry describing the first impressions of Frances Burney toward JB that I had not known had existed. It is not recorded in the "Life", or in Boswell's journal.
(Memoirs of Dr. Burney 1832, ii pp 190-196) Pretty strong stuff, and, and a pretty negative depiction of Boswell's personality, but that being said it is a picture so richly painted that it would have been something that Boswell would have loved if it had been about someone ELSE!

J C Cox Poem on Lympne Castle

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 08/14/2016 - 21:07

The poem has the following section in it:

That once, 'tis thought, a tower of strength had been;
The whole a port of note in by-gone age,
As may be read in Boswell's* ample page.

I am assuming that he is referring to James Boswell does any body knowwhat lies behind this reference, did Boswell visit Lympne and see the ruins of the old Roman fort