Books: From Boswell's Trunk

THE PORTABLE JOHNSON & BOSWELL (762 pp.)—Edited and with an Introduction by Louis Kronenberger—Viking ($2).

Readers who know the name of James Boswell only by hearsay are likely to consider him an intellectual lackey who simply recorded every scrap of conversation that fell from the nonstop mouth of Samuel Johnson. But he was much more; as Louis Kronenberger points out in his introduction to this handy Portable, Boswell was both a kind of genius and "a tissue of contrarieties." The man who rushed off to a brothel on hearing of his mother's death "was...

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