Samuel Johnson’s Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and James Boswell’s Journey of a Tour to the Hebrides are widely regarded as among the best pieces of travel writing ever produced. Johnson and Boswell spent the autumn of 1773 touring Scotland as far west as the islands of Skye, Raasay, Coll, Mull, Ulva, Inchkenneth and Iona. Highly readable, often profound, and at times very funny, their accounts of the ‘jaunt’ are above all a valuable record of a society undergoing rapid change.
In this pioneering new edition, Ronald Black brings together the two men’s starkly contrasting accounts of each of the thirteen stages of the journey. He also restores to Boswell’s text 20,000 words from his journal which were denied entry to his book because they were intimate, defamatory, or about the islands rather than Johnson. The endnotes incorporate Boswell’s footnotes, translations of Latin passages, a clear summary of pre-existing information on the two texts, and a fresh focus on what the two men actually found on their trip. To the Hebrides, also includes contemporary prints by Thomas Rowlandson, seventeen new maps and a comprehensive index.