In the introduction to his Les Vies Imaginaires (1896) – a profound influence upon Borges – Marcel Schwob writes:
If Boswell’s book took up ten pages it would be the book we were looking for. Doctor Johnson’s common sense comprises the vulgarest of commonplaces: expressed with the bizarre violence that Boswell has the art to depict, it has a quality unique in this world. Only this ponderous catalogue resembles the doctor’s dictionary; from it one could extract a Scientia Johnsoniana with an index. Boswell has not had the aesthetic courage to select.
(Translation by Iain White.)
I was delighted to note, elsewhere in the introduction, that Schwob makes mention of “the conjectures to which Boswell abandons us concerning the use Johnson made of the dried orange-peel he liked to keep in his pockets” – as noted recently here.
NB : Hooting Yard’s in-house anagrammatist R. will, I hope, get to work on the title of this postage.