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A Dictionary of the English Language:
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JOHNSON, Samuel.

A Dictionary of the English Language:

in which the words are deduced from their originals, and illustrated in their different significations by examples from the best writers. To which are prefixed, A History of the Language, and An English Grammar. In two volumes. The ninth edition; corrected and revised.

Published: London: for J. Johnson [and 39 others], 1806

Stock code: 111314

Price: £1,600

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With the engraved armorial bookplate of Richard Lovett to the front pastedown of each volume, possibly the noted Methodist minister and author who was appointed book editor of the Religious Tract Society in 1882, later serving as director of the London Missionary Society, writing the society’s history on its centenary in 1899. Lovett had an extensive book collection, mainly comprising early English bibles, and catalogued the biblical section of the John Rylands Library before it was opened to the public in 1900. First published in 1755, Johnson’s Dictionary has at various times been called “the most important British cultural monument of the eighteenth century” (Hitchings); “the only dictionary [of the English language] compiled by a writer of the first rank” (Robert Burchfield); “the most amazing, enduring and endearing one-man feat in the field of lexicography” (PMM); and the first genuinely descriptive dictionary in any language. “Johnson’s writings had, in philology, the effect which Newton’s discoveries had in mathematics” (Webster).

2 volumes, large quarto (280 x 214 mm). Contemporary diced russia, rebacked, raised bands within double fillet rules gilt to spine forming compartments, twin red and green morocco letterpieces to second and fourth, triple gilt rules to covers, floral roll-tool gilt to turn-ins, marbled endpapers, bound green silk page-markers. Each volume housed in a custom black cloth slipcase. Engraved portrait frontispiece by Heath after Reynolds. Tips and board-edges lightly rubbed, incisions from rebacking skilfully refurbished, small chip to vol. 1 top edge of rear board, frontispiece foxed in margins and offset to title page, very occasional mild spotting. A very good copy.

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