A Dictionary of the English Language

A Dictionary of the English Language


Description: FIRST EDITION of Johnson's landmark Dictionary; A BEAUTIFUL COPY in elegant contemporary tree calf. A monumental work by anyone's standards, Johnson's Dictionary took over eight years to complete. "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). "Johnson introduced into English lexicography principles which had already been accepted in Europe but were quite novel in mid-eighteenth-century England. He codified the spelling of English words; he gave full and lucid definitions of their meanings (often entertainingly coloured by his High Church and Tory propensities); and he adduced extensive and apt illustrations from a wide range of authoritative writers... His dictionary [is the] most amazing, enduring and endearing one-man feat in the field of lexicography" (Printing and the Mind of Man 201). Published on 15 April, 1755, in an edition of 2000 copies, it is estimated that slightly more than half survive. London: printed by W. Strahan for J and P Knapton, et al., 1755. Folio, contemporary full tree calf rebacked with original spines laid-down. Two volumes. Text very clean. An outstanding copy in exceptionally handsome tree calf bindings.
Artist or Maker: Johnson, Samuel
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