James Boswell (October 29, 1740 - May 19, 1795) was a lawyer, diarist, and author born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was the eldest son of a judge, Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, Lord Auchinleck. He is best known as the biographer of Samuel Johnson. His name has passed into the English language as a term (Boswell, Boswellian, Boswellism) for a constant companion and observer.
Boswell is known for taking voracious notes on the grand tour of Europe that he took as a young nobleman and, subsequently, of his tour to Scotland with Johnson. He also recorded meetings and conversations with eminent individuals belonging to The Club, including David Garrick, Edmund Burke, Joshua Reynolds and Oliver Goldsmith. His written works focus chiefly on others, but he was admitted as a good companion and accomplished conversationalist in his own right.
"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."
"We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over. So in a series of kindnesses there is, at last, one which makes the heart run over."
His manuscripts were collected in the 1920's by Ralph Isham and have since passed to Yale University which has published general and scholarly editions of his journals and correspondence.
Account of Corsica (1768)
The Hypochondriak (1777-1783, a monthly series in the London Magazine)
The Journal of the Tour of the Hebrides (1785)
Dorado, a Spanish Tale (1786, anonymously)
The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791)