Very Good. Item #6743
London: Printed for John Stockdale, Piccadilly, 1788. Octavo; [x] + 556pp + 2pp of publisher's advertisements.
Contemporary calf with morocco label and gilt rules on spine. Panel edges tooled in gilt.
Spine now illegible due to leather surface darkening and crackling; gilt rules still present. Leather erosion at spine crown and foot. Boards loosening, but bands still holding on front panel; rear joint cracked from foot upward to middle band, but bands holding from middle up to crown. Gilt tooling of panel edges in only spotty remnants. Remarkably clean textblock pages, with virtually no foxing. Textblock unmarred and unmarked. Bookplate—"In Cruce Glorior" beneath heraldic shield—on front pastedown.
The “Works of Samuel Johnson,” described honestly in its time, and honestly by booksellers now, as both “complete” and as the “first” edition of the total uniform series from Stockdale/Rivington in 1787-1788, can be found in 11-, 13-, 14-, and 15-volume sets. This is not a matter of redistribution of the same material in thicker or thinner volumes, or of inaccurate description. Volumes 12 through 15 contain additional Johnsoniana, added to the “complete” series as it became available and was edited for publication. Its completeness grew as its public grew.
Volume 14 is part of that augmentation. Its Preface opens: “The performances contained in the present Volume, are such, as it is presumed, ought to have made a part of the Edition of Dr. Johnson’s Works lately published. . . . Why they were omitted is of no importance to enquire.”
The Table of Contents begins with Johnson's works that were published anonymously, then includes Dedications, Letters, Epitaphs, and Poems—102 individual items in total.
Courtney and Smith annotate Vol XIV [pp162-63] as follows: "This volume appears to be very rare. Not the least point of interest is that it reprints in part the Proposals for the edition of Shakespeare which were issued with the Miscellaneous Observations on Macbeth in 1745." All points noted by Courtney and Smith are present in this volume. ESTC N25884.