Dublin: Printed for Messrs. Whitestone, Williams, Colles, Wilson, Lynch, Jenkin, Walker, Burnet, Hallhead, Flin, Exshaw, Beatty, and White [through 1781], M,DCC,LXXIX. . Full Calf. First Dublin Edition (unauthorized) and First Separate Edition, preceding the first London separate edition by two years, complete in three volumes. First Issue, with "partaking his posterity" in line 3 of p. 4, repeated page numbers 143-144, 395 unnumbered, and 245 as 445 in vol. I; title pages of vols. II and III without oval vignettes. First State, with swelled (not dotted) rule above date on title page. First volume dated 1779, preface 'Advertisement' dated March 15, 1779, with other volumes. dated 1781. 8vo (208 x 122mm): ,ii,3-144,143-536; ,496; ,399pp. Contemporary calf, spines in six compartments divided by raised bands, burgundy and black morocco lettering pieces gilt. Minor wear to bindings else firm and tight, contents generally clean throughout with only light scattered foxing and edge toning. Courtney & Smith, p. 141. Fleeman 79.4LP/2a(i) and 79.4LP/6a. ESTC Citation No. T116665 (without discriminating among various states). Tinker 1364. Very Good +. Item #BB0727
Originally published as part of the 68-volume series (Lives and Works of the English Poets), from 1779 to 1781. This is the first separate edition, pirated, preceding the London separate edition (which was titled 'The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets; with Critical Observations on Their Works'). It includes two works by Gray, "A Long Story" and "Ode for Music," absent from the later London edition. In 1779, as Johnson turned 70, infirm and distressed by the deaths and illnesses of those close to him, he managed this final literary project, which proved the "ultimate success in his career. This took the form of a series of prefaces to a new collection of the English poets, best-known today as The Lives of the Poets. In a contract signed on 29 March 1777, Johnson had agreed . . . to supply ‘a concise account’ of some fifty poets . . . The first installment came out in March 1779, the second in 1780, and the third in May 1781. . . setting a new standard for English literary biography. . . . [H]is reading of mainstream poetry from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries remains canonical, by reason of its attention to verbal detail, its decisive judgments, and its robust expression." (ODNB) N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).