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A Dictionary of the English Language:
London.: J and P Knapton; T and T Longman; C Hitch and L Hawks; A Millar; and R and J Dodsley., 1755 1755, Folio, 2nd ed, VG+. In contemporary tree calf boards, gilt edge tooling. Modern spine (to style), raised bands, decorative gilt tooling, titles in gilt to calf labels. Internally Vol 1, titles in red and black inks, contemp. ink name at head (Thos Millington), not paginated but [a1-a2], b-O, B-13B (A>KYD). Vol 2. tp in red and black, ink name at head, [1], 15A-31C1, printed in double columns by W Strahan. Faintest of marginal foxing to a few leaves, pin hole to the o of London at V1 tp, small old paper repair verso final leaf, small hole to rep V1. (Leaves 41*24.7 cm. or 16 1/8 *9 3/4 inches), skillful repair to boards. An outstanding and uncommon copy of the second, folio edition, of this landmark publication. (Allibone 975. Kent 118). Originally begun in 1747 it took Johnson and 6 assistants (5 of whom were Scottish!), 8 years to produce, instead of the predicted 3. Title continues: In which the words are deduced from their Originals, and Illustrated in their Different Significations by Examples from the best Writers. To which are prefixed, A History of the Language, and An English Grammar. A group of booksellers headed by Robert Dodsley perceived the need for a new English dictionary to replace the semi-standard Dictionarium Britannicum of Nathan Bailey (1730). They found a receptive ear in Johnson, who had pondered for many years on the absence of an English equivalent to the great continental glossaries sponsored by public bodies and academies. What was envisaged was something quite different, a commercial venture financed by a consortium of leading figures in the trade. Johnson prepared a short prospectus for the undertaking, and then signed a contract on 18 June 1746. The compiler was to be paid 1500 guineas, out of which he had to defray the cost of his copyists, and delivery was due in three years. It seems miraculous today that the job took as few as nine years to complete. See ODNB.
      [Bookseller: Madoc Books]
Last Found On: 2014-05-04           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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