The First Edition of Johnson's Dictionary

    Samuel Johnson. 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. London: Printed by W. Strahan, 1755.

    First edition. Two large folio volumes. Unpaginated. Text in double columns. Title pages printed in red and black. Decorative woodcut tailpieces.

    Contemporary calf, rebacked to style at an early date. Raised bands. Gilt-stamped design to spines. Leather title labels with gilt lettering. Joints in volume one starting but firm. Some light abrasions and crazing to boards. Slight bumping to the extremities. Affixed to the front pastedowns are armorial bookplates: "The Armorial Bearing of the House of Abercairny." In modern custom boxes. Overall, a handsome, near fine copy.

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    "The great work of [Johnson's] life was his Dictionary of the English Language, which is the basis of all English dictionaries since published. Its chief value consists not in the definitions, which are often ludicrously prejudiced, but in its quotations from standard English authors" (G. R. Gleig, A History of the Reign of George III).

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