JOHNSON, SAMUEL 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...
London: printed by W. Strahan for J. & P. Knapton [and others], 1755-1755. First edition. Two volumes, a completely uncut copy retaining all deckled edges, recently bound in quarter brown calf, matching sides. 17 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches (44 x 26 cm); titles in red and black, collating as follows: volume I: A-K^(2) a-d^(2) (-d2 as usual) ^(2)B-13A^(2), with terminal singleton 13B-14Z (12 O and P missigned); volume II: *^(2) (-*1, blank?) 15A-31C^(2), with singletons at the end of alphabetical sections as follows: 17A-17Z, 22F-Z and 27E-Z; a complete copy thus. The preliminary and terminal leaves two leaves of each volume worn and remargined, some losses to a few letters of the titles possibly in facsimile, otherwise an uncut copy (thus with exceptional margins), generally--barring some occasional foxing and browning (25F quite browned)-- clean internally, a few leaves with old creases, tear (repairable) to 6T2 with a five-inch loss at left margin, extending into the text but with little if any text loss, two or three other marginal tears or losses noted, but apparently a copy that was rarely consulted, and in all an interesting survival.
Few copies survive uncut of this work, most having passed through several bindings since publication, with successive trimmings. Of Johnson's dictionary, an epic accomplishment, Noah Webster wrote "Johnson's writings had, in the field of philology, the effect which Newton's had on mathematics" (see Printing and the Mind of Man, 201). PMM also calls this "the most amazing, enduring and endearing one-man feat in the field of lexicography." Of the edition of about 2000 copies, roughly half now survive. Printing and the Mind of Man 201; Courtney, pp. 54-5; Chapman & Hazen, pp. 137-8; Rothschild 1237; Fleeman I, p. 410.
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