- New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2016.
- 8.5 x 11 inches
- hardcover, dust jacket
- 556 pages
- ISBN: 1584563443
- ISBN: 9781584563440
Price: $95.00 other currencies
Order Nr. 123417
"A truly remarkable achievement. ... There is no student of Boswell or Johnson who will not take pleasure and heart in this large and impressive book."
- Robert DeMaria, Jr., Johnsonian News Letter, March 2017
"The book is more than a bibliography... it is an example of how to reconstruct a disbursed or lost library or collection from extant records and ephemeral materials. The lengthy, informative introduction, which explains how Seymour learned about the Boswells library, serves as a case study or roadmap for future scholars interested in pursuing a similar project."
- Miriam Kahn, PBSA
"Seymour seems to have left no stone unturned in his forensic sleuthing... It will be thrilling to see if this groundbreaking study facilitates any Boswell discoveries."
- William Butts, Manuscripts, Spring 2016
Since the day in 1791 when The Life of Johnson was published, James Boswell has ranked among our greatest authors. With the discovery of Boswell's journals and other papers in the twentieth-century, and their subsequent publication by Yale, armies of scholars have dissected his life, methods and manners. Yet until now, no one has attempted to document the books in his personal library.
Terry Seymour has combed Boswell family inventories, the four Boswell auction sales, evidence from the Boswell papers, and two centuries of auction records and dealer catalogues to provide a remarkably complete reconstruction.The more than 4,500 entries, each one representing a title, document not only James Boswell's library, but also that of his father, grandfather and two sons. The books of these four generations were inherited and shared within the family to such an extent that the Auchinleck library must be studied in its entirety.
The Preface is by James J. Caudle, Associate Editor of the Boswell Editions at Yale. The extensive introduction narrates the history and migration of the Boswell library from the 14th century until the present day. Using forensic methods to study the flow of books held in Edinburgh and London, Seymour breaks new ground that uncovers what happened to these books after Boswell's death. Many of the entries are article-length, describing all known provenance of each book, including stories of stolen and missing books. The entries also contain a complete transcription of Boswell's own handlist of books, the inventory of Auchinleck books prepared by his wife, and the rare Greek and Latin Classics catalogue printed by his son.
Boswell's Books is illustrated with many Boswell ownership inscriptions, all the known bookstamps used by the Boswell family, a family portrait never before published, and bookplates of prominent Boswell collectors and members of his circle. Also included: details of book relationships with Samuel Johnson, David Garrick and others of Boswell's circle; the presentation package that Boswell assembled for General Paoli; a detailed account of how Boswell planned and executed all the presentation copies of the first and second editions of the Life; provenance index, index of titles, and index of Booksellers, publishers and printers.