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The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.

Comprehending an account of his studies and numerous works, in chronological order; a series of his epistolary correspondence and conversations with many eminent persons; and various original pieces of his composition, never before published. The whole exhibiting a view of literature and literary men in Great-Britain for near a century during which he flourished.

London : 1791 Stock Code: 139214
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First edition, first state with vol. I p. 135 in the uncorrected state. "Boswell's Life of Johnson remains the most famous biography in any language, one of Western literature's most germinal achievements: unprecedented in its time in its depth of research and its extensive use of private correspondence and recorded conversation, it sought to dramatize its subject in his authorial greatness and formidable social presence, and at the same time treat him with a profound sympathy and inhabit his inner life. Boswell both elevated the life of the writer to epic stature, and attended to the minute details of life as lived to provide a steady disclosure of character through their long gradual accretion" (ODNB).
Provenance: contemporary armorial bookplate of the Earl of Moray; thence by descent to the Earls of Haddington.

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2 volumes, quarto (259 x 194 mm). Contemporary mottled calf, smooth spines lettered in gilt with gilt motifs to compartments, gilt fillet to covers, blue speckled edges.


Aquatint portrait frontispiece engraved by James Heath after Sir Joshua Reynolds, 2 engraved facsimile plates by H. Shepherd.


Lightly rubbed but bindings otherwise with little wear, offsetting to endpapers, plates cropped very marginally affecting imprint, very light soiling to title page of vol. II, contents with sporadic light foxing but generally clean. An excellent copy.


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