Monday, October 29 in the year 1750, famous Scottish author James Boswell (29 October 1740 – 19 May 1795) was born. Mr. Boswell had a very colorful life and his vivid writing is still something to be admired.
Portrait of James Boswell
By Sir Joshua Reynolds circa 1785
1 ) Born in Edinburgh. James’ father was a judge and belonged to an old Scottish family with the title Lord of Auchinleck. This made James the 9th Laird of Auchinleck.
2 ) As a supporter of the Corsican Republic, Boswell donated money, arms and went dressed up as a Corsican Chief to the Shakespeare Jubilee in Stratford-Upon-Avon (See a letter from Boswell about the Shakespeare Jubilee).
3 ) After finishing college Boswell toured Europe. On his tour he met several dignitaries including Rousseau and Voltaire. Taking careful notes Boswell created detailed profiles of the famous people he met.
4 ) In 1763 Boswell met Samuel Johnson. They remained lifelong friends.
5 ) Boswell’s book, An Account of Corsica, was published in 1768, translated into 4 languages and made Boswell famous.
6 ) Mr. Boswell liked to whore around. In 167 he wrote a letter to W.J. Temple and said: “I got myself quite intoxicated, went to a Bawdy-house and past a whole night in the arms of a Whore. She indeed was a fine strong spirited Girl, a Whore worthy of Boswell if Boswell must have a whore“. He got venereal disease at least 17 times.
7 ) Boswell married Margaret Mongomerie in 1769. Margaret was his cousin and remained faithful to him despite his affinity to houses of ill repute. She died of tuberculosis, Boswell begged her forgiveness in his tearful eulogy.
8 ) Touring the Scottish Highlands with Johnson proved to be a great success and prompted Boswell to write Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland.
9 ) After Johnson’s death, Boswell who by now was drinking heavily wrote The Life of Samuel Johnson which is considered to be his masterpiece and was published in two volumes.
10) Boswell died before completing the third volume.
Zohar – Man of la Book