21 SEPTEMBER 1912, Page 24

Boswell's Autobiography. (Chatto and Windus. 12s. 6d. net.)—By Boswell's autobiography

Mr. Percy FitzGerald means the auto- biographical touches which Boswell put into his great book. Boswell wrote the book to aggrandize himself—that is our author's theory. The theory is, we think, a foolish one, but it is entertainingly worked out, because, as we follow Mr. FitzGerald through the intricacies of his argument, we are constantly brought into company with Dr. Johnson. Our author despises, not to say vilifies, Boswell, but of his intellectual powers he has a good opinion. He does not hesitate to suggest that Boswell often im- proved, and sometimes even invented, the conversations he reports. In fact he believes that. Boswell exploited Dr. Johnson for his own ends. So small an aim surely never led to so great an achieve- ment.