Miscellanies in Prose and Verse. Anna Williams.

Miscellanies in Prose and Verse.

1766. London: T. Davies, 1766.

4to, [4], 184 pp. Title with woodcut fleuron; old waterstain to top forecorners of a few leaves at front. Handsome early or original half calf and marbled boards, red morocco label lettered in gilt; slightly rubbed, a very good copy.

§ First edition of the only book by Anna Williams (1706-1783), the blind poet and companion of Samuel Johnson. After her death Johnson wrote of her “"Her curiosity was universal, her knowledge was very extensive, and she sustained forty years of misery with steady fortitude. Thirty years and more she has been my companion, and her death has left me very desolate.” Her Miscellanies in Prose and Verse was published in 1766, her 60th year; Johnson contributed a preface and several prose and verse pieces. “The work had been first advertised in 1750, and there were waspish claims from Anna's friends that Johnson had not exerted himself in its production, but the publication was moderately successful, and earned the author about £100” (Oxford DNB). Justin Croft noted of his copy: “Very uncommon, as one might expect from Mrs. Thrale's statement: 'I never saw it on any Table but my own.'” Fleeman, pp. 1139-42, Courteney & Nicholl Smith, p. 111. Item #107752

Price: $4,000.00

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