JOURNEY TO THE WESTERN ISLANDS OF SCOTLAND

(Dublin: for A. Leathley, J. Exshaw, H. Saunders, D. Chamberlain et al., 1775).

A VERY PLEASING AND HANDSOME COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE. RARE IN THIS STATE. Before printing was complete, Johnson decided to change two passages, one in deference to the feelings of the Dean of Lichfield, the other simply to avoid repetition. This involved the cancellation of leaves D8 and U4. The title-page, errata-leaf, and the two cancel leaves were printed together as a half-sheet, and consequently the book has no half-title.
Johnson undertook this expedition at the ripe old age of 64, but it had its origin in a book, Martin's DESCRIPTION OF THE WESTERN ISLANDS OF SCOTLAND (1703), which his father gave him in his youth. "His attention was drawn to the anecdote of the man of St. Kilda, who thought that the high church of Glasgow had been carved out of a high rock, and had remarked that there were some in that island 'much higher'. This fascinated him and remained, while life lasted, in his mind.....His narrative of the journey was written in a more homely style than many of his previous publications, and it was not meant unkindly" (Courtney and Smith, pp. 118-9). He spent nearly two months on the islands, in the company of Boswell and confessed the tour to have been “the pleasantness part of his life”, an impression charmingly conveyed in his JOURNEY.
“Few books of travel were more eagerly awaited than Johnson’s and few crackled more loudly in the flames of controversy. Some Scotchmen asserted that Johnson waited until the bad weather had set in order to be more vituperative; others declared that the account was eminently just. however that may be, Johnson came back with a mind much the richer for experience with a different way of life, and a heart much warmer for the many courtesies he had received from Scotchmen of all degrees”. (Cox III:25). Item #31215

2 volumes in one. First Irish Edition, published in the same year as the first London edition. Large 12mo, very handsomely bound in full contemporary polished calf, the spine with gilt strapped bands separating the compartments, red morocco lettering label gilt in one compartment, the covers with border tooling in blind, [2], 192; [2], 384 pp., collated complete, the pagination with errors in printing as called for in the bibliography. A handsome copy, clean and crisp, a really fine survival in excellent condition with no restoration performed on the original binding.

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