“A COMPONENT PART OF ENGLISH LITERATURE”: SAMUEL JOHNSON'S THE RAMBLER
JOHNSON, Samuel. The Rambler. London: W. Suttaby, 1809. Four volumes. Octavo, modern half brown calf, marbled boards, top edges gilt, uncut. $850.
Later edition of Johnson’s Rambler, “a vast treasury of moral precept and ethical instruction” (Lowndes, 1218), with engraved vignette title pages and 12 engraved plates, including a portrait of Dr. Johnson in Volume I. An attractively bound, uncut copy.
Published twice weekly over a two year period, from March 20, 1750 to March 14, 1752, The Rambler features essays on a variety of topics, as well as fables, allegories, character studies and criticisms. Of the 208 issues, Johnson wrote all of them except for five. Other contributors include Samuel Richardson (No. 97), Elizabeth Carter (Nos. 44 and 100), Catherine Talbot (No. 30), and Mrs. Hester Chapone (four billets in No. 10). This periodical "exerted so mighty an influence on the English language and people… It commenced with a standard of morals and language elevated far above the prevailing style of morals and of writing. It has elevated both, and has brought the English language and notions of morality to its own level… It is a component part of English literature, having fixed itself in the language, the style, and the morals of the English people, and taken its place as an integral… part of the national principles" (Allibone, 974). This edition of The Rambler is taken from the larger set of "British Classics," originally comprising Volumes 15-18 of that set.
Some foxing to plates; text quite clean and fine. Attractive bindings fine.