I enjoyed Radio 4’s Great Lives yesterday. Presenter Matthew Parris invites a well known person to pick a hero or heroine and they chew over the subject with an expert. Boris Johnson chose Samuel Johnson, which was very entertaining. Annoyingly, though, BoJo referred to Johnson’s cat (see pic) as ‘Hodges’, when anyone knows its name was Hodge. The link will take you to other programmes the Beeb is putting on to honour Johnson.
I’m a great Johnson admirer, as my journal title suggests. Often, when we say we love Johnson, we mean of course that we love Boswell, whose Life tells us so much about the great man. People who can’t face the whole biography might try The Journal of a Journey to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, which is quite short and very funny. Boswell’s journals of his own life (scandalous!) have been edited into various volumes but I recommend as a really good read Boswell’s London Journal 1762-63. As soon as you start reading you’re in eighteenth century London yet it’s as fresh as if it had been written yesterday.