Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., The; A New Edition. In Four Volumes.

A Finely Bound Boswell’s Life of Johnson

BOSWELL, James. The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. A New Edition. In Four Volumes. London: Printed for G. Walker…, 1820.

Four octavo volumes (8 3/8 x 5 1/16 inches; 213 x 129 mm.). [2], xvi, 64, 55-70, 73-88, 97-512; [2], 522; [2], 500; [2], 464 pp. Two folding engraved plates of facsimiles of Johnson’s handwriting (facing p. 1 in Volume I and facing p. 1 in Volume IV).

Contemporary tan calf. Smooth spines elaborately tooled in gilt and blind with two red morocco gilt lettering labels, board edges decoratively tooled in gilt, turn-ins tooled in blind, marbled edges. Small hole in F6 (pp. 75/76) in Volume III, just touching three letters on recto. Armorial bookplate on front pastedown with motto: “Pandite,” with a label inscribed: John Gibson Surgeon. A fine set.

Boswell’s biography of Johnson is a classic of the genre—a full, candid account of the life of one of the most famous eighteenth-century writers and thinkers by another. “The Life of Johnson was no single book miraculously produced by an inexperienced author. It was the crowning achievement of an artist who for more than twenty-five years had been deliberately disciplining himself for such a task” (Pottle, p. xxi). Item #00707

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