Johnson and Boswell: The Transit of Caledonia

By Pat Rogers | Go to book overview
Save to active project

3
'The Transit of the Caledonian Hemisphere': Johnson and Boswell in an Age of Discovery

If the Hebridean trip was not, then, a grand tour--indeed, was more like the antithesis of such a thing--we need to consider what kind of undertaking it was. The first answer I shall suggest, in this chapter, is that it partook in some measure of a European voyage of discovery.

Towards the end of Boswell Tour when the travellers have reached Auchinleck, the author makes an ostentatious gesture of his refusal to show his father and Dr Johnson as 'intellectual gladiators'. 'Therefore,' continues the entry for 6 November 1773, 'I suppress what would, I dare say, make an interesting scene in this dramatick sketch,--this account of the transit of Johnson over the Caledonian Hemisphere' ( LSJ v. 382.). The aim of this chapter is to gloss Boswell's phrase and to supply a context for the Hebridean trip in the accounts of travel, exploration, and discovery which were so conspicuous in the public mind at this very moment.

Recent books have provided us with a wider perspective on travel literature in the eighteenth century, and Thomas M. Curley's valuable study, Samuel Johnson and the Age of Travel, has pointed to a pervasive tradition and model. But Professor Curley dwells more on Rasselas than on the Journey and he sees the work as one shaped to 'a travel book format influenced by previous accounts of Scotland' such as those by Martin Martin and Thomas Pennant.1

____________________
1
Thomas M. Curley, Samuel Johnson and the Age of Travel ( Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, 1976), 203; see generally pp. 183-219. Curley acutely notes that the Journey states: 'The Highlanders are treated as if they were Eskimos, Siberian nomads, American Indians, and Pacific savages', but he does not develop the point. Other relevant works include Charles L. Batten, jun., Pleasurable Instruction: Form and Convention in Eighteenth-Century Travel Literature ( Berkeley, Calif., and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1978); and Percy G. Adams , Travel Literature and the Evolution of the Novel ( Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky, 1983).

-68-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Johnson and Boswell: The Transit of Caledonia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 245

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?