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JOHNSON, Samuel (1709--1784)
[Lives of the English poets. 1779]
Prefaces, biographical and critical, to the works of the English poets. By Samuel Johnson. Volume the first (--tenth).
London: printed by J. Nichols for C. Bathurst, J. Buckland, W. Strahan, J. Rivington and sons, T. Davies [and 31 others in London], 1779--81.
10 vols ; 15.3 cm. (8º)
I: xi, [1], 165, [1], 128 p.
II: [4], 223, [1], 39, [1] p.
III: [4], 349, [1] p.
IV: [4], 31, [1], 15, [1], 27, [1], 20, 12, 12, 4, 9, [1], 12, 6, 5, [1], 13, [1], 11, [1], 42, 64, 4, 13, [1] p.
V: [4], 162, 53, [1], 20 p., engr.frontis. port.
VI: [4], 56, 30, 43, [1], 38, 19, [1], 63, [1] p.
VII: [4], 373, [1]p.
VIII: [4], 112, 30, [2], 12, 7, [1], 11, [1], 23, [1], 24 p.
IX: [4], 147, [1], 7, [1], 40,11, [1], 14 p.
X: [4], 113, [1], 8, 16, 20, 18, [2], 22, 15, [1], 56 p.

First edition of Johnson's Lives of the English poets, issued to accompany the first edition of The works of the English poets which were published in 56 volumes and two final volumes of indexes in 1779--80 (q.v.). Volumes I--IV are dated 1779, vols V--X: 1781; vols V--X list 33 additional booksellers in the imprint. Volume V includes a portrait of Johnson by T. Trotter after Sir Joshua Reynolds. Contains 'Directions to the binder' (vol. I, pp. ix--x) for the first four volumes, showing that the work was originally issued in parts. Each life has a separate pagination and register. Contents: V. 1. Prefaces to Cowley and Waller. -- v. 2. Prefaces to Milton and Butler. -- v. 3. Preface to Dryden. -- v. 4. Prefaces to Denham, Sprat, Roscommon, Rochester, Yalden, Otway, Duke, Dorset, Halifax, Stepney, Walsh, Garth, King, J. Philips, Smith, Pomfret, Hughes. -- v. 5. Prefaces to Addison, Blackmore, and Sheffield -- v. 6. Prefaces to Granville, Rowe, Tickell, Congreve, Fenton, and Prior. -- v. 7. Preface to Pope. -- v. 8. Prefaces to Swift, Gay, Broome, Pitt, Parnell, A. Philips, and Watts. -- v. 9. Prefaces to Savage, Somervile, Thomson, Hammond, and Collins. -- v. 10. Prefaces to Young, Dyer, Mallet, Shenstone, Akenside, Lyttelton, West, and Gray. ESTC t44190.

Copy Notes Bought as a uniformly bound set with the 58 volumes of the Works of the English poets (q.v.) from Robert Faulder for £9 0s. 0d. for the 68 volumes on 27 August 1781. (SNB). Undated pencil reference in Soane's hand on front free-endpaper of vol. X: Gray 12. The passage in question reads: '[... The Professorship of Languages [at Cambridge University] became again vacant, and he [Gray] received (1768) an offer of it from the duke of Grafton.] He accepted, and retained it to his death; always designing lectures, but never reading them; uneasy at his neglect of duty, and appeasing his uneasiness with designs of reformation, and with a resolution which he believed himself to have made of resigning the office, if he found himself unable to discharge it.' Soane was appointed Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy in 1806. He prepared two series of six lectures in 1809--1812 and 1815, but delivered no lectures in 1811, 1814, 1816, 1818 or from 1821 to 1831, when due to the lack of improvement to his failing eyesight it was arranged that Henry Howard would read them on his behalf. The omission evidently preyed on his conscience. In vol. IX p. 25 of the life of Thomson is folded over.

Binding C18th calf, gilt-tooled spines, red and green morocco spine-labels.

Reference Number 1136


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