Author Biographies

Samuel Johnson (1709–1784) often referred to as ‘Dr Johnson’ was born in Lichfield in 1709. He is best known as the author of the first English dictionary, but was a prolific writer known for his work as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. He attended Oxford but had to abandon his studies due to lack of funds. He worked as a teacher and then moved to London to concentrate on his writing. Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland is the record of a trip taken with his friend, James Boswell, in 1773. The work was intended to comment on the social problems that affected the Scots, but also praised many unique facets of Scottish society. He died in London in 1784 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Some two hundred years after his death, a posthumous diagnosis of Tourette’s syndrome was diagnosed.
Queen Victoria (1819–1901) is Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. She and her family began visiting Scotland in 1842, with Balmoral Castle becoming their main residence in Scotland. Victoria was a driving force behind the romantic ideal of Scotland which sprang up at that time. The publication of her Highland journals also contributed to the image of the ideal family life that the royal family displayed to the public which, when combined with her descriptions of the ‘wilds’ of Scotland, made her journals a great success.
Neil Munro (1863–1930) was a Scottish journalist, author and newspaper editor, best known for his humorous works, especially the Vital Spark and Para Handy stories. Born in Inveraray, he moved to Glasgow where he combined working as a journalist with his novel writing and became editor of the Glasgow Evening News in 1918. He was a key figure in literary circles, and a friend of the writers John Buchan, J. M. Barrie, and Joseph Conrad. Many of his works are historical novels with a Highland setting exploring bloody unrest and the Jacobite rising. The New Road, was the last (and considered by many to be the best) of his novels, published in 1914. He died in Helensburgh on 22 December 1930. His obituaries claimed him to be the successor of Robert Louis Stevenson, and one noted critic described him as 'the greatest Scottish novelist since Sir Walter Scott'.
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