ABSTRACT

Our reading of Johnson’s development over his last twenty years is nonetheless complicated by his retreat from the political journalism that had for so long been his main vehicle of expression. With the exception of four substantial pamphlets published between 1770 and 1775, our perception of his politics during these later years is heavily mediated by others. Above all, he became known to later generations through the biography of the twenty-two-year-old Scot who met him in May 1763. Amongst the most controversial questions in Johnson studies is the degree to which James Boswell may have coloured or even distorted our vision of this middle-aged veteran of a previous era in English politics.