Boswell and the First World War: A talk by Gordon Turnbull

  • 10 May 2016
  • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Dr Johnson's House 17 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE

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Boswell and the First World War: 
When Kaiser Wilhelm met Dr Johnson

A talk by Gordon Turnbull,
General Editor of the Yale Editions
of the Private Papers of James Boswell

In late 1902, King Edward VII, sensing the ugly tensions brewing between Germany and Britain, invited Kaiser Wilhelm to England for a goodwill visit, whose ‘Crowning Event’ (in the words of The New York Times) was a ‘Gala Performance at Sandringham House’ of two short plays, one of them a trifling and now wholly forgotten short comedy, 'Doctor Johnson: An Episode in One Act.'

This talk revisits this little-known moment in early twentieth-century Anglo-German diplomacy to examine what was at stake in the deployment of the theatricalised figure of the Boswellian Johnson as part of an effort to defuse international antagonisms building dangerously towards war.

This talk revisits this little-known moment in early twentieth-century Anglo-German diplomacy to examine what was at stake in the deployment of the theatricalised figure of the Boswellian Johnson as part of an effort to defuse international antagonisms building dangerously towards war.

Tickets: £10 (includes a complimentary glass of wine), 

Gordon Turnbull is General Editor of the Yale Editions of the Private Papers of James Boswell, overseeing a global editorial team bringing to publication selections of the vast archive of James Boswell's private papers. He has taught in Yale's English Department and at Smith College, is the author of numerous scholarly and critical essays on Boswell, Johnson, and their circle, has taught and lectured widely on these authors, and is a regular speaker at the annual Boswell Book Festival held at Dumfries House, Ayrshire. He is at work now on a study commissioned by The Boswell Trust of the relationship between the Boswells of Auchinleck and their aristocratic Ayrshire neighbours, the Countesses and Earls of Dumfries.
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