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While in Samuel Johnson and others James Boswell chases men of distinguished accomplishments, in the journals and letters of his 1764 tour of German Courts his imagination is fired by the idea of hierarchical greatness in itself. Among the petty princes of Germany he fantasizes about a sense of importance that transcends not only the judgment of the observer but also anything anyone might write about them in the public sphere of print. Yet in his writings he can only imagine that greatness through a critical consciousness shaped by print culture. This article explores publicness as an aesthetic category in Boswell's writing.