“I think myself as good as anybody” : nationalism, manliness, space and identity in Boswell’s London Journal
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James Boswell (1740-1795), biographer of Samuel Johnson and lifelong diarist, provided one of the most detailed descriptions of eighteenth-century London life in his London Journal: 1762-1763. In it, Boswell chronicled his self-conscious attempts to refashion himself from the uncultivated Scottish youth that he worried he was into the refined London gentleman he desperately wanted to become. Moving to London at a time when Post-Union Britain was supposedly ushering in a new era of ‘Britishness’, Boswell’s musings offer a different perspective, one in which nationalism – specifically, English and Scottish nationalism – played an important role in Boswell’s quest to construct his idealized genteel identity. Examinations of Boswell’s Journal reveal important insight into his views on national identity, masculinity, and the city of London itself, as well as how all of these aspects relate to each other in shaping Boswell’s quest to shape his character.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeMcCannon, John; Smith, Lisa; Stephanson, Ray
Copyright DateSeptember 2010
James Boswell (1740-1795)