6 December 2013
BOSWELL, James (1740-1795). The Life of Samuel Johnson. London: Henry Baldwin for Charles Dilly, 1791.
2 volumes, 4o (279 x 212 mm). Engraved portrait of Johnson by James Heath after Sir Joshua Reynolds, 2 engraved plates by H. Shepherd, printed on pale blue paper. (Some minor spotting.) Contemporary tree calf, spines gilt with red and green morocco lettering-pieces gilt; cloth folding case. Provenance: Geoffrey Ecroyd (bookplate); Bryan Maggs (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION, second state, with "give" on p.135 in vol. I; Mm4 and Nn1 in volume I and E3, Oo4, Qq3, Zz1 and Eee2 in volume II are cancels. "Homer is not more decidedly the first of heroic poets, Shakespeare is not more decidedly the first of the dramatists, Demosthenes is not more sensibly the first of orators, than Boswell is the first of biographers" (Macaulay). Boswell's great biography was published 16 May 1791 and achieved immediate critical acclaim. It has not been out of print since. Grolier English 65; Rothschild 463; Tinker 338. A FINE COPY. (2)
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