(London: Printed for R. Dodsley and Sold by M. Cooper, 1749). 258 x 210 mm. (10 1/8 x 8 1/4"). 28 pp. FIRST EDITION.
ORIGINAL STITCHED MARBLED PAPER WRAPPERS. Housed in a nice modern folding cloth box. Woodcut ornament on title, decorative woodcut headpiece and initial. Verso of upper wrapper with the morocco bookplate of Frank Hogan. Courtney-Smith, pp. 22-24; Rothschild 1233; Foxon J-87; Adam II, 5; Tinker 1303; Hayward 163. Just a touch of wear to the to the wrappers, two corners slightly chipped, hint of thumbing to a few pages but A COMPLETELY UNSOPHISTICATED COPY IN EXTRAORDINARLY FINE CONDITION.
This is an unsurpassable copy of the first printing of the first work to bear Johnson's name, offered here in the original wrappers. Written in powerful and polished heroic couplets, the book has been called the most nobly Roman poem in English, and it is less an imitation than Johnson's own poem upon the same subject as Juvenal's satire: the folly of vanity and self-seeking. To demonstrate the inevitable futility of human ambition, Johnson examines the desires for long life, physical beauty, power, eminence in learning, and military glory, emphasizing the miseries and dangers of the first two and illustrating the last three by the rise and fall of Wolsey, Buckingham, Hyde, Galileo, Laud, Charles of Sweden, and others. The poem is the source of most of the memorable quotations from Johnson. To begin with, this work does not show up frequently in the marketplace; it is scarce in fine condition; and it is impossibly rare in original wrappers found in the outstanding condition seen here. It is entirely fitting that it was once in the possession of the famous extremely discriminating American collector Frank Hogan (1877-1944), whose library contained "an appealing and highly personal selection of literary treasures." (Dickenson) As the present work attests, volumes from his collection are almost always in the best obtainable condition. (ST13617)
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PJP Catalog: RBMS17.019