About A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland
In 1773, the great Samuel Johnson–then 63–and his young friend and future biographer, James Boswell, traveled together around the coast of Scotland, each writing his own account of the 83-day journey. Published in one volume, the very different travelogues of this unlikely duo provide a fascinating picture not only of the Scottish Highlands but also of the relationship between two men whose fame would be forever entwined.
Johnson’s account contains elegant descriptions and analyses of what was then a remote and rugged land. In contrast, the Scottish-born Boswell’s journal of the trip focuses on the psychological landscape of his famously gruff and witty companion, and is part of the material he was already collecting for his future Life of Samuel Johnson, the masterly biography that would make his name.
Read together, the two accounts form both a unique classic of travel writing and a revelation of one of the most famous literary friendships.