DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, 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
DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, 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
DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, 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
DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, 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

DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, 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

(London: by W. & A. Strahan for W. Strahan, J. F. & C. Rivington [and others], 1784).

A VERY HANDSOME SET OF THE FIFTH EDITION, which is a reprint of the fourth, the last in which Johnson had any involvement. TEXTUALLY, THE FOURTH IS CONSIDERED TO BE THE BEST EDITION of Johnson's great work and THE MOST IMPORTANT EDITION AFTER THE FIRST OF 1755. This edition is the last to be printed in Johnson's lifetime and is also the last of the two volume folio editions and the only exact reprint of the fourth and best edition. It retains Johnson's advertisement to the fourth, in which he states, 'Perfection is unattainable, but nearer and nearer approaches may be made; and finding my Dictionary about to be reprinted, I have endeavoured, by a revisal, to make it less reprehensible'.
Johnson, in undertaking the vast work of creating his dictionary, set out to perform singlehanded for the English language what the French Academy, a century before, had attempted for French. He hope to produce "a dictionary by which the pronunciation of our language may be fixed, and its attainment facilitated;" and though, of course, no language can be frozen in time, by aiming at fixing the language he succeeded in giving the standard of reputable use. As Noah Webster stated, his work "had, in philology, the effect which Newton's discoveries had in mathematics."
"Johnson's achievement marked an epoch in the history of the language. The result of nine years labor, it did more than any other work before or since towards fixing the language. The preface ranks among Johnson's finest writings. The most amazing, enduring, and endearing one-man feat in the field of lexicography" (Printing and the Mind of Man). Item #26899

2 volumes. The Fifth edition, retaining Johnson's famous advertisement to the fourth. With the provenance of Alexander Speirs of Elderslie House, Scottish politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1835 to 1841. Titlepages printed in red and black. Royal folio (420 X 263mm), in a handsome contemporary binding of full tree calf framed with an ornate border of vines with flowers and grapes or berries, expertly rebacked to very proper period style featuring raised bands ruled with thistle motif gilt bands, these repeated at the head and tails, contrasting red and green morocco labels gilt lettered and tooled, original marbled endpapers, 19th century bookplate of Alexander Speirs. A very attractive set in fine tree-calf, the text solid and quite fresh, clean with only extremely minor and occasional evidence of aging to the leaves, discrete evidence of old damp at the bottom outside corners of Vol.II, often near invisible, most apparent on leaves 19C-F and again on leaves 29R-U.

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Price: $6,250.00