The Rambler

The Rambler


Description: FIRST EDITIONS, FIRST PRINTINGS, OF ALL 208 ORIGINAL ISSUES of Johnson's famous installments of wit and wisdom. With the very rare first printing of the first part and a first issue title page. In beautiful unrestored contemporary bindings. Issued twice weekly from 20 March 1750 to 17 March 1752, The Rambler contains Johnson's thoughts, reflections, and opinions on an extreme variety of subjects. "Saturated with thought to an extent unexceeded by any other writer of English prose since Francis Bacon? (Walter Jackson Bate), The Rambler remains, among all Johnson's works, the greatest testimony to his versatile and powerful mind. "Johnson's original audience, the purchasers of the 500 copies that appeared twice weekly from March 1750 to March 1752, were supplemented after the first few months of the periodical's existence by readers who saw individual numbers that various newspapers began--piratically--to reprint. Complete sets of the original 208 issues are very rare, but this fact does not mean that the work lacked a serious following. Missing numbers in an eighteenth-century work published in series usually indicate that the work was so popular that it was literally read until the copies fell apart?" (The Cambridge Companion to Samuel Johnson). The first printing of the first issue is particularly rare: An early reprint was made to complete sets that lacked the first issue; this reprint erroneously mentioned "preceding issues" in the colophon. The set being offered has the true first printing of the first issue. With a first issue title page (dated 1751 with no volume number) bound at the beginning of volume II. Title pages were issued later for people who wanted to bind their sets of first printings. Sets are found with title pages in each volume, no title pages, or, as in this case, one title page. A table of contents and list of mottos were issued for later printings only. Ref: Prideaux Courtney; Fleeman. London: Payne & Bouquet, 1750-1752. Original 208 parts bound in two volumes. Small folio, contemporary full calf; elaborately gilt-decorated spines with leather labels; gilt-ruled boards. Light rubbing to joints, corners bumped, chips to Vol 1 spine ends; text clean with very wide margins. Exceedingly rare complete and in beautiful full (unrestored) contemporary bindings. AN EXTRAORDINARY SET.
Artist or Maker: JOHNSON, SAMUEL
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The Manhattan Rare Book Company

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