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A dictionary of the English language: in which the words are deduced from their originals ... abstracted from the folio edition ... to which is prefixed a grammar of the English language
London: J. Knapton [et al.], 1756. First octavo and first abridged edition, the title pages in this set exhibiting the variant with "by the author" (see Fleeman, p. 487, Notes); 2 volumes, unpaged; [*]2 a-c4 d3 B-3Y4 3Z2; [*] 4A2 4B-6Y4 6Z2; lexicon text in double column; contemporary full gilt-ruled calf, gilt-lettered spine in 6 compartments; edges quite scuffed and worn, small losses to spine ends, lacking all endpapers except Vol. II front free endpaper; contemporary bookplates and manuscript inscriptions on front pastedowns and Vol. II free endpaper; tears to 4O and 6P2 affecting text without loss of meaning; good and sound. "For this edition, Johnson added a new Preface and was probably responsible for most if not all of the alterations throughout ... Johnson's preface is interesting in its contrast to the Preface of the folio edition, particularly in its direct appeal to the common reader. Far from a rumination upon the transitoriness of language, the difficulties of the lexicographer, and the vanity of human wishes, the preface to the octavo edition is a marketing ploy, an attempt to assure those who had been frightened off by the folio volumes that this simplified version would fit their more basic needs ... The octavo abridgement sold very well, if not as well as the ever-persistent Bailey octavo. The 5,000 copies recorded as printed by Strahan in December 1755 were presumably sold off in the next four years, so that a new edition of the abridgement was published in 1760, again in a run of 5,000 copies" (Reddick, The Making of Johnson's Dictionary 1746-1773, pp. 86-87). Alston V, 192; Chapman & Hazen, p. 138; Courtney & Smith, p. 62; Fleeman 56.4D/1.
      [Bookseller: Rulon-Miller Books]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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