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JOHNSON, Samuel.

An Account of the Life of Mr Richard Savage, Son of the Earl Rivers.

London: Printed for J. Roberts, 1744 Stock Code: 141773
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Two of the most celebrated biographies of the century

First edition of Johnson's celebrated biography of his friend Richard Savage, the flamboyant poet, playwright, and blackmailer, here bound with the first edition of Oliver Goldsmith's life of Beau Nash, another of the most celebrated biographies of the 18th century.

Johnson's Life of Savage has the last page in the state with a single-line erratum. As in Rothschild, the final pages 185-6 are misnumbered 179-80. Savage had died in Bristol prison in August 1743 and the same month Johnson announced that he was preparing his friend's biography. Savage and Johnson had endured the poverty of their youth together, and this was Johnson's even-handed tribute, "a work of remarkable and varied interest" (CHEL). He later included it, with only minor changes, in The Lives of the Poets.

Johnson's Life of Savage is bound second in the volume, after Oliver Goldsmith, The Life of Richard Nash, of Bath, Esq; Extracted principally from his Original Papers. London: for J. Newbery; and W. Frederick, at Bath, 1762. Sig. C6 is a cancel, as usual.

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Octavo in half-sheets (204 x 126 mm); bound after another similar work. Contemporary marbled boards, with later Japanese vellum spine and board fore-edges. Housed in a custom red cloth slipcase and chemise.


With half-title, without final advertisement leaf.


Contemporary annotations to half-title, small contemporary monogram in ink at head of text, ownership inscription to front free endpaper of whole volume (J. de B. Russell?), a couple of early marginalia. Sides rubbed, tips worn, Johnson with stab-holes from a simpler first binding, marginal tear/flaw to fore edge B4 not affecting text, both works generally very good.


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