BOSWELL, JAMES. 1740-1795.
The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D
. London: Henry Baldwin for Charles Dilly, 1791. 2 volumes. xii, , 516; , 588 pp. Engraved frontispiece portrait of Johnson after Sir Joshua Reynolds, and 2 engraved plates. 4to (264 x 200 mm). Period full tree calf, rebacked, covers paneled with gilt floral and foliate roll enclosing blind foliate roll, spines with brown and red gilt lettered labels, custom cloth slipcase. Internally clean, bookplate to front pastedown of each volume, covers with some light shelfwear, corners expertly reinforced, a few stray marks to spine, but an excellent set.
First edition, with give reading on p 135 of vol. I. Boswells work 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 English life and culture as its depiction of Johnson and his cronies.