PLAN OF A DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE; Addressed to the Right Honourable Philip Dormer, Earl of Chesterfield; One of His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State
PLAN OF A DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE; Addressed to the Right Honourable Philip Dormer, Earl of Chesterfield; One of His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State
PLAN OF A DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE; Addressed to the Right Honourable Philip Dormer, Earl of Chesterfield; One of His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State

PLAN OF A DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE; Addressed to the Right Honourable Philip Dormer, Earl of Chesterfield; One of His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State

(London: For J. and P. Knapton, T. Longman, et al., 1747).

RARE FIRST EDITION OF THIS HIGHLY IMPORTANT WORK PRECEDING THE ACTUAL PUBLICATION AND PREPARATION OF SAMUEL JOHNSON'S GREAT DICTIONARY. THE GREATEST LEXICOGRAPHICAL ACHIEVEMENT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND A FEAT UNSURPASSED BY ANY ONE INDIVIDUAL UP TO THE PRESENT TIME.
Although Johnson had at first been encouraged by Chesterfield's interest, generously allowing that he had "more knowledge than I expected," he later felt he had been neglected, complaining that he had brought the Dictionary "to the verge of publication, without one act of assistance, one word of encouragement, or one smile of favour" (Boswell, Life, I.262).
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 #26918

First edition, issue with leaf A reset to exclude the Earl of Chesterfield's name on the recto and E1v corrected. 4to, very handsomely bound in an antique binding in fine period style by Riviere and Son, most probably in the early 1900's using proper full mottled calf, the covers with a double gilt ruled frame with round tooled corner-pieces gilt, the spine with two handsome gilt devices and gilt tooled bands, a long brown morocco label handsomely gilt lettered and tooled, very ornate gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers and a.e.g. 34 pp. A truly handsome copy of this scarce work, the text in fine, fresh and clean condition with only a bit of the minor spotting as is always the case, the binding very fine.

Price: $8,500.00