James Boswell

[9th Laird of Auchinleck] (1740-1795 / Edinburgh)

James Boswell Quotes

  • ''I had said to Mrs. Boscawen at table, "I believe this is about as much as can be made of life." I was really happy. My gay ideas of London in youth were realized and consolidated.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Laird of Auchinleck, journal, April 20, 1781, p. 328, McGraw-Hill (1977). Said at dinner in Mrs. Garrick's house, in the company of Samuel Johnson, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Dr. Charles Burney, and other friends.
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  • ''I went to my father's at night. He spoke of poor John [Boswell's brother] with disgust. I was shocked and said, "He's your son, and God made him." He answered very harshly, "If my sons are idiots, can I help it?"''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Laird of Auchinleck, August 7, 1782, p. 467, McGraw-Hill (1977).
  • ''For my own part I think no innocent species of wit or pleasantry should be suppressed: and that a good pun may be admitted among the smaller excellencies of lively conversation.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish lawyer, biographer. Life of Dr Johnson, entry for June 19, 1784 (1791).
  • ''A good pun may be admitted among the smaller excellencies of lively conversation.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, June 1784, p. 1309, Oxford University Press (1980). Contradicting Samuel Johnson, who had "a general aversion to a pun," ibid.

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