"ASSUREDLY A GREAT, A VERY GREAT WORK": BOSWELL'S LIFE OF JOHNSON AND JOHNSON'S TRAVELS, LAVISHLY EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED WITH OVER 1000 ADDITIONAL PLATES AND HANDSOMELY BOUND
(JOHNSON, Samuel) BOSWELL, James. Boswell's Life of Johnson, including… Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides and Johnson's Diary of a Journey into North Wales. Oxford: Clarendon, 1887. Six volumes bound in eleven. Octavo, contemporary full navy morocco gilt, raised bands, top edges gilt, uncut. $11,000.
First George Birkbeck Hill edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson and Johnson's travels, extra-illustrated with 1153 finely engraved portraits, views, maps and facsimiles (including many proofs on India paper), and facsimile of handwritten note by Hill tipped in. Handsomely bound in full morocco by Riviere & Son.
Hill was a renowned Johnsonian scholar; when the Clarendon Press brought out this six-volume set in 1887, "the edition was accepted as a masterpiece of spacious editing. The index, forming the sixth volume, is a monument of industry and completeness" (DNB). "The fascination of [Boswell and Johnson's] dialogue, that dialogue of mind, heart and voice round which Boswell organized his great Life, is that it is not merely between two very different men but between two epochs. In its pages, Romantic Europe speaks to Renaissance Europe, and is answered" (Wain, 229). Due to the profusion of added plates, portraits and facsimiles, each of the five text volumes were divided into two volumes, for a total of 11 volumes (the index volume is not extra-illustrated).
Interiors and added plates clean and fine. Volume I, Part I and Volume III, Part I expertly rebacked with original spine neatly laid down, a few other joints slightly tender or with minor reinforcements, bindings sound. A very handsome and lavishly extra-illustrated set in excellent condition.