Letters to and from the late Samuel Johnson, LL.D. To which are added, Some Poems, Never Before Printed. Published from the Original Mss. in her Possession, by Hester Lynch Piozzi. In Two Volumes.

  • Johnson, Samuel
  • London: Printed for A. Strahan and T. Cadell 1788
  • ESTC T82906; Fleeman 88.3L/1.


SKU: 6349 Category: Tag:


FIRST EDITION, 2 vols., 8vo, pp. [ii], xv, [i], 397, [1]; xi, [i], 424. Near-contemporary half calf, marbled boards, spines divided by double gilt rules, red morocco labels, 4th compartments numbered direct in gilt, edges speckled blue. Binding papers foxed, else some scattered spotting, marginal tear to one leaf not touching text. Bindings somewhat rubbed.


The correspondence between Dr Johnson and his friend and confidante Hester Piozzi, edited by the latter 4 years after Johnson's death and 2 years after publication of her 'Acedotes' of Johnson's life drawn from her diaries. It predates Boswell's 1791 Life of Johnson and represents 'the first publication and canonization of a large body of [Johnson's] correspondence (some 338 letters)', though it received 'some justified abuse from Boswell, who detected some manipulative editing, and less deserved rancour from the disgruntled Baretti. Arthur Murphy declared that the edition revealed the great man "in the undress of his mind" (Monthly Review, 78, 1778, 326), and her editorial practice has largely been vindicated by modern editors who reserve their disapproval for the self-conscious over-dressing of her own revised letters to Johnson' (ODNB).

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