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    Samuel Johnson. Dictionary of the English Language: in which the Words are deduced from their Originals, and Illustrated in their Different Significations by Examples from the beft Writers. To which are prefixed, a History of the Language, and an English Grammar. London: Printed by W. Strahan, for J. and P. Knapton; T. and T. Longman; C. Hitch and L. Hawes; A. Millar; and R. and J. Dodsley, 1755. First edition. Two volumes. Folio in twos (16.5 x 9.75 inches; 421 x 253 mm.). [2, title leaf], [10, "Preface"], [28, "The History of the English Language"], [14, "A Grammar of the English Tongue"] and "The Letters A to K Inclufive," unpaginated (approximately 556 pages); "The Letters L to Z Inclufive," unpaginated (approximately 750 pages). Contemporary speckled calf, spine tooled in gilt with five raised bands and red and black leather spine labels lettered in gilt, boards with double-ruled gilt border; all text block edges trimmed and sprinkled red. Both volumes rebacked, with original backstrip laid down; hairline vertical cracking along spines; each volume with one joint cracked, but still sound; boards rubbed, scuffed, and scratched; edges worn and repaired. Endpapers lightly foxed; three hinges repaired; stamp and previous owner signature at front free endpaper of second volume. Text block edges softly worn and darkened; first two leaves of first volume essentially remargined; occasional trace of foxing scattered throughout. Still, near fine text blocks with clean, bright interiors, in good bindings. Pioneering a descriptive rather than a prescriptive approach to the English language, the "Dictionary left an immense mark on its age. It soon became recognized as a work of classical standing, and in spite of some minor blemishes it has never lost its historical importance as the first great endeavor of its kind" (ODNB). "Dr Johnson performed with his Dictionary the most amazing, enduring and endearing one-man feat in the field of lexicography... which justifies Noah Webster's statement that 'Johnson's writings had, in philology, the effect which Newton's discoveries had in mathematics'" (PMM).

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