"THE MOST AMAZING, ENDURING AND ENDEARING ONE-MAN FEAT": RARE FIRST EDITION OF JOHNSONS LANDMARK DICTIONARY; From the Library of Sir John Hobhouse
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: 99732
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 full contemporary calf, raised bands, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, morocco spine labels. From the library of Sir John Hobhouse with his bookplate. Hobhouse was an English politician and diarist. Hobhouse is credited with the invention of the phraseHis Majesty’s (Loyal) Opposition made in 1826 during a speech in the House of Commons. After the Whigs gained power in 1830 he served under Lord Grey as Secretary at War between 1832 and 1833, as Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1833 and as First Commissioner of Woods and Forests in 1834. He was later President of the Board of Control under Lord Melbourne between 1835 and 1841 and under Lord John Russell between 1846 and 1852. He was sworn of the Privy Council in 1832 and raised to the peerage as Baron Broughton, of Broughton-de-Gyfford in the County of Wiltshire, in 1851. In 1852 he was also made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. In very good condition with light toning to the text, rebacked. An exceptional example of this landmark work, rare and desirable in contemporary calf and with noted provenance.
"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).