Boswell, James. Portch, Julian (illustrator)
The Life of Samuel Johnson
London: George Routledge and Sons, no date, circa 1860s. Octavo; contemporary three-quarter green calf gilt; red spine label; marbled boards, edges and endpapers. Lightest rubbing to boards.
Single-volume edition of one of the greatest English biographies, printed in two columns. Boswell follows Dr. Johnson through the arduous production of his major works, including his massive Dictionary of the English Language and his critical editions of Shakespeare and the English poets, and documents his friendships with Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burke, David Garrick, Fanny Burney, and Hester Thrale. “Do not let such evils overwhelm you as thousands have suffered, and thousands have surmounted . . . a man of genius has been seldom ruined but by himself." Illustrations by Julian Portch depicting Dr. Johnson turned away from Lord Chesterfield's door, his meeting with George III in the Queen's library, the socially awkward Johnson in company, and the scene of his deathbed, as well as a folding facsimile of the round robin letter Johnson received regarding his epitaph for Oliver Goldsmith. A near-fine copy.