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English Literature and History Lot 109


JOHNSON, SAMUELA DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE London, J and P Knapton [and others], 1755. First edition, 2 volumes, large folio, titles in red and black, additional portrait of Johnson after Sir Joshua Reynolds added (not called for) dated 1787, first title damaged and repaired with loss, prefix leaves somewhat creased, prelims to vol 1 with small wormtrack repaired in parts and mainly marginal but occasionally touching a few letters, second title with small closed and repaired tear not affecting text. Occasional faint spotting, but in general this is a good clean and fresh copy of a work that is often quite heavily foxed and well-used. Bound in full contemporary calf, spines rubbed with wear to top and bottom of spines and volume labels, boards worn at extremities. The copy of Robert John Verney (1809-1862), 17th Baron Willoughby de Broke, with his bookplates. The first edition of Johnson's dictionary was limited to just 2,000 copies, which immediately sold out. Unsurprisingly, good copies of the first edition, such as this, are increasingly difficult to find. The first printing of "The most amazing, enduring and endearing one-man feat in the field of lexicography" [Ref: Printing and the Mind of Man] (2)

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