Dr. Johnson on the historian’s craft
[Johnson] said that great parts were not requisite for a historian, as in that kind of composition all the greatest powers of the human mind are quiescent. “He has facts ready to his hand, so he has no exercise of invention. Imagination is not required in any high degree; only about as much as is used in the lower parts of poetry. Some penetration, accuracy and colouring will fit a man for such a task, who can give this application which is necessary.”
Boswell’s London Journal, 6 July 1763.
Won’t someone syndicate Boswell (like, for example, Pepys)? It would be lovely to have some 18th prose in my feed reader every morning.