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Miss Boswell

Miss Boswell

Estimated reading time: 1 minute

I first visited the Boswell Offices at Yale in 2018 to see what materials they had on Mary Bryant. Dr. Gordon Turnbull, the editor of the Yale Editions of the Boswell Papers, loaded me up some some night-time reading. As I went through Security at JFK airport, books tumbled out of my hand luggage. The security guard smiled, picked up a few and said “Ahh, Miss Boswell.”

I had been immersed in Mary’s life before that visit to Yale. Researching the facts Boswell recorded about Mary, I had focused entirely on the last few years of Boswell’s life. Gordon Turnbull opened my eyes to his earlier life and helped me understand why Boswell kept a diary, Boswell’s kindness throughout his life to criminals and Boswell’s great good humour. Since then, I have been working through each of Boswell’s journals, the articles he wrote under the penname, The Hypochondriack, and of course his books, Tour to the Hebrides, Account of Corsica and Life of Samuel Johnson. Those books from Yale form the cornerstone of my shelves full of Boswell related material.

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