Samuel Johnson: A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (2583 words)


In January 1775, the great English essayist, critic, biographer, and poet Samuel Johnson moved outside his usual literary terrain to publish A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, his one contribution to the genre of travel writing. A short 137 pages in the most recent critical edition (Fleeman, 1985), the Journey gives an account of the strenuous three-month tour of Scotland the elderly Johnson undertook by coach, horse, foot, and boat with his young Scottish friend and future biographer, James Boswell. Though it has never received the critical attention of Johnson’s other major writings, its casual episodic structure, lucid, dignified prose, and searching reflections on Scottish life make the Journey<…

Citation: Wilcox, Lance. "A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 April 2017 [, accessed 28 October 2020.]

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