BOSWELL, JAMES. 1740-1795.
The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. London: Henry Baldwin for Charles Dilly, 1791. 2 volumes. Engraved portrait of Samuel Johnson after Sir Joshua Reynolds and 2 engraved plates in second volume. 4to (210 x 275 mm). Modern full tan levant morocco, gilt lettered and decorated, slipcase. Brief ownership signature partially erased from title-pages, faint spotting to plates, else a clean example with generous margins.
First edition with gve reading on page 135 of the first volume. Boswells book lionizes the greatest talker the English language has ever known. His portrait of Dr. Johnson as wise, provocative, interesting, and sometimes offensive contributed as much to the canonization of the writer as Johnsons own literary output. Today scholars value the text as much for its description of 18th century England life and culture as its depiction of Johnson and his cronies.