April 2023 Catalogue

B a u m a n R a r e B o o k s A p r i l 2 0 2 3 6 First Edition Of Boswell’s Life Of Johnson, 1791 The Copy Of Politician, Writer, And Noted Friend Of Lord Byron, John Cam Hobhouse 5. BOSWELL, James. The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. Comprehending an Account of His Studies and Numerous Works. London, 1791. Two volumes. Quarto, contemporary full mottled brown calf sympathetically rebacked. $27,000. First edition, first state, of “the most famous biography in any language, one of Western literature’s most germinal achievements.” The copy of politician, traveler, and writer John Cam Hobhouse, the Baron Broughton, most famous for his long-running and very close friendship with Lord Byron, with his engraved armorial bookplate. “The Shakespeare of biographers” (Macaulay), James Boswell “excelled in insight into human nature and in ability to dramatize a situation” (Baugh, et al., 1065-66). “If there had been no Boswell, Johnson would have been one of the most famous names in English literature; but that he has become a household name… is due to the chance that brought Boswell into his company” (DNB). Volume I is first state , with “gve” uncorrected on page 135, line 10 (a change made before publication). Cancels present at Volume I, leaf [2M4] (pages 271-72); Volume II, [E3] (pages 2930), [2O4] (pages 287-88), [2Q3] (pages 301-02), [2Z1] (pages 353-54) and [3E2] (pages 395-96). Vol. II without blank A1, as often. Engraved armorial bookplate of John Cam Hobhouse (Baron Broughton), radical politician, traveler, writer, and long-standing close friend and confidante of Lord Byron, and the eventual executor of Byron’s estate. In many ways, Hobhouse was Boswell to Byron’s Johnson: his 1813 book A Journey through Albania chronicles the trip he and Byron took together through Albania and Turkey. “During late 1817 and early 1818 Hobhouse wrote some of the notes for canto iv of Childe Harold; the poem was afterwards dedicated to him by Byron” (ODNB). However, after Byron’s death, Hobhouse made a decidedly un-Boswell-like decision: he demanded the destruction of the manuscript memoirs that Byron had left behind, fearful of scandal. Engraved armorial bookplate of Hobhouse’s father, Sir Benjamin Hobhouse, first baronet Broughton, in Volume II (with John Cam Hobhouse’s bookplate on rear pastedown). Occasional marginalia, in pencil and in ink. Some foxing to text, binding extremities lightly rubbed. An exceptionally good copy, with an excellent provenance.