Friday, January 29, 2010

Croker's Edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson

January 29. (1831)—I had a vacant day once more by the kindness of Sir Robert, unasked, but most kindly afforded. I have not employed it to much purpose. I wrote six pages to Croker, who is busied with a new edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson, to which most entertaining book he hopes to make large additions from Mrs. Piozzi, Hawkins and other sources. I am bound by many obligations to do as much for him as I can, which can only respect the Scottish Tour.

John Wilson Croker did compile an annotated version of Boswell's Life of Johnson, publishing it in 1831.  In addition to the writing referred to above, Croker asked Walter Scott to approach James Boswell's sons (Alexander and James) with a request for source material for his new edition. Scott attempted to contact the Boswell's, who he was acquainted with, but wasn't able to connect - much as had been Croker's experience.

Croker's publication became the source of much controversy.  He included several errors in his work, and these were picked up by a political enemy - Thomas Macaulay.  Macaulay published a critical review that damaged both Croker and Boswell.

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