Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #108 begins on 06 Jul 2023

US Auction #16 begins on 02 Aug 2023

William Shakespeare - Ed. Samuel Johnson 


With The Corrections and Illustrations Of Various Commentators; To which are added Notes by Sam. Johnson.

Published: J. & R. Tonson, London, 1765

Edition: 1st. Thus

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Eight Volumes. 8vo. The first edition of Shakespeare's plays edited by Samuel Johnson and with his c.73 page introduction. Outside of the Folio editions of Shakespeare, this is considered to be the most important edition of his plays and it forms the basis of modern Shakespeare scholarship and most later editions.

This is the scarce first printing of the first edition, distinguished from the later imprint of the same year by Johnson's preface being unpaginated and by the omission of the imprint of Longman from Vol.'s 1 & 2. Only 1000 sets of this issue were printed - some commentators say less.

There is a bookplate of one Walter Raleigh on the front pastedown of Vol.1 (could it possibly be a descendant of THE Walter Raleigh??), and a contemporary signature on a front blank. Vol.1 also has the engraved frontispiece portrait of Shakespeare. Half-title in Volume 3 but lacking in the other volumes. The 8 volumes are in a uniform early/contemporary full calf binding with marbled endpapers. The bindings are fairly heavily rubbed with moderate wear, fraying at the spine ends and some external joints cracking but intact. Some of the internal endpaper hinges are also starting but generally all volumes are tight, apart from the front board of Volume 1 which has become cleanly detached (see picture). There is generally some mild to moderate foxing, more severe in a few instances. Volume 1 has some staining of 3 blank front flyleaves. Overall the condition is reasonable considering the age of just under 250 years and the reserve price is extremely competitive.

  • Binding Condition: Good
  • Overall Condition: Good
  • Size: 8vo.
  • Sold By: Ronald Levine - Modern First Editions
  • Contact Person: Ronald Levine
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 011643 8437
  • Preferred Payment Methods: EFT for S.African customers and Internation Bank Tranfer for customers abroad. I am unable to accept payment by credit card.
  • Trade Associations: SABDA

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