"THE MOST AMAZING, ENDURING AND ENDEARING ONE-MAN FEAT": FIRST EDITION OF JOHNSONS LANDMARK DICTIONARY
A Dictionary of the English Language: In Which The Words are deduced from their Originals, And Illustrated in their Different Significations By Examples from the best Writers. To Which Are Prefixed, A History of the Language, And An English Grammar.
Item Number: 12056
London: Printed by W. Strahan, for J. & P. Knapton, et al, 1755.
First edition of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary of the English language. Folio, 2 volumes. Bound in three quarters calf over marbled boards, raised bands, gilt titles, black spine labels. In very good condition with owner inscription on title head, title of volume one conserved, occasional light toning.
"With no real library at hand, Johnson wrote the definitions of over 40,000 words... illustrating the senses in which these words could be used by including about 114,000 quotations drawn from English writing in every field of learning during the two centuries from the middle of the Elizabethan period down to his own time" (W. Jackson Bate). "Dr. Johnson performed with his Dictionary the most amazing, enduring and endearing one-man feat in the field of lexicography The preface ranks among Johnsons finest writings It is the dictionary itself which justifies Noah Websters statement that Johnsons writings had, in philology, the effect which Newtons discoveries had in mathematics" (PMM 201).