Johnson, Dr Samuel: The lives of the most eminent English poets; with critical observations on their works […] a new edition, corrected […] London: printed for C. Bathurst, J. Buckland, W. Strahan [et al.] 1783. 4 vols. 8vo. Third edition. pp. viii, 454; iv, 440; iv, 342; iv, 485, [i] + engraved portrait frontispiece after Joshua Reynolds, concludes with publisher’s ads (J. Nichols). Contemporary tree calf, rubbed, with joints, headcaps and corners renewed and tooling made good; a sound and handsome set. Ink stamp of Harrytown Hall, Cheshire, to end-papers.
Johnson’s last great work, containing a great deal of anecdotal information which might otherwise have been lost, was first published as ‘Prefaces, Biographical and Critical’, part of the 58 volume works of the English poets edited by Johnson 1779-80. The first authorized separate edition (a pirated edition also appeared in Dublin) was printed in 1781, but the 1783 edition is described by Courtney and Smith as ‘the only edition of importance after the first. It is the only edition which Johnson revised, and the last he lived to see’. ESTC T4514; Courtney & Smith, p. 142.