1791. London: Printed by Henry Baldwin, For Charles Dilly, in the Poultry, 1791.
2 vols., 4to., [i-iii], iv-xii, (16, table of contents), -516; (2), -588 pp. Engraved portrait frontispiece and two engraved plates (facsimiles of Johnson's handwriting & a 'Round Robin' with facsimiles of signatures). Contemporary speckled calf, repaired at hinges (both vols.). Gilt stamped backstrip with red and black morocco title and volume labels. Printed on blue tinted paper.Binding is rubbed and cracked at joints and edges, endpaper has some minor stains, internally bright; very good copy. Bookplates of C.A. and V. Baldwin, and Arthur Annesley Esq.
§ First edition, one of 1750 copies. Though often considered the prototypical biography, the Life of Johnson is more a pastiche of material that Boswell had been accumulating since his first meeting with Johnson in 1763. “His portrait is vivid and intimate, in his own words a ‘Flemish picture’ made up of trifling incidents as well as significant events, and Boswell’s skill in stage managing encounters… adds greatly to the liveliness of the whole” (The Oxford Companion to English Literature, 514). Page 135, vol. I, with the second state reading “give.” Mm4 and Nn1 in Volume I and E3, Oo4, Qq3, Zz1 and Eee2 in Volume II are cancels, with blank [A] 1 in vol. 2. Courtney & Nichol Smith, pp. 172-173; Pottle 79; Rothschild 463. Item #108050