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Johnson Samuel; Works of the English Poets

SKU: Johnson, Samuel, AB0601035 $195.00
The Works of the English Poets, with Prefaces, Biographical and Critical by Samuel Johnson printed by H. Hughs, et al, London in 1790. Volumes X & XI only containing MiltonaTM s aParadise Lost and Paradise RegainaTM d.aFull marbled leather boards with gilt rule border front and back. Vol. # & aPoetsain gilt on red Moroccan block with additional gilt bands and embellishments. The spine on vol. xi is faded. There is leather loss at the foot of both volumes. Hinges are cracked on both vols. Corner bumps, grime, shelf-wear and edge-wear are consistent with age. Silk page marker both vols. Vol. X: 253 white pages without foxing, spotting, tear or loss. Text is complete. No marks or inscriptions. Vol. XI: 241 white pages without any foxing, spotting, tear or loss. Text is complete. No marks or inscriptions. Text lines numbered in multiples of five in right margin. Volumes measure: 10.4 cm. x 16.2 cm. (18mo). These volumes are in very good + condition. The pages are almost aas new.aDr. Samuel Johnson (September 7, 1709 - December 13, 1784) often referred to simply as Dr. Johnson, was one of England's greatest literary figures: a poet, essayist, biographer, lexicographer, and often esteemed as the finest literary critic in English. Johnson was a great wit and prose stylist of genius, whose bons mots are still frequently quoted in print today. The son of a poor bookseller, Johnson was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire. He attended Lichfield Grammar School. A few weeks after he turned nineteen, on October 31, 1728, he entered Pembroke College, Oxford; he was to remain there for thirteen months. Though he was a formidable student, poverty forced him to leave Oxford without taking a degree. He attempted to work as a teacher and schoolmaster; initially turned down by Rev. Samuel Lea MA (headmaster of Adam's Grammar School) he found work at a school in Stourbridge, but these ventures were not successful. At the age of twenty-five, he married Elizabeth "Tetty" Porter, a widow twenty-one years his senior. In 1737, Johnson, penniless, left for London together with his former pupil David Garrick. Johnson found employment with Edward Cave, writing for "The Gentleman's Magazine." For the next three decades, Johnson wrote biographies, poetry, essays, pamphlets, Parliamentary reports and even prepared a catalogue for the sale of the Harlian Library. Johnson lived in poverty for much of this time. In 1747, Johnson began one of his most important works - "A Dictionary of the English Language." It was not completed until 1755. Although it was widely praised and enormously influential, Johnson did not profit from it much financially, since he had to bear the expenses of its long composition. In 1762, Johnson was awarded a government pension of three hundred pounds a year, largely through the efforts of Thomas Sheridan and the Earl of Bute. Johnson met James Boswell, his future biographer, in 1763. Around the same time, Johnson formed "The Club", a social group that included his friends Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burke, David Garrick and Oliver Goldsmith. By now, Johnson was a celebrated figure. He received an honorary doctorate from Trinity College, Dublin in 1765, and one from Oxford ten years later. Johnson's final major work was the "Lives of the English Poets," a project commissioned by a consortium of London booksellers. The "Lives," which were critical as well as biographical studies, appeared as prefaces to selections of each poet's work. Johnson died in 1784 and is buried in Westminster Abbey. The subject of Volumes X & XI is John Milton's epic poem aParadise Lost (1667) & Paradise Regained (1671).aMilton was born on December 9, 1608 in Cheapside, London. His father, John Milton (c. 1562-1647), moved to London around 1583 having just been disinherited for concealing his Protestantism from his devout Catholic father, Richard Milton, who was a wealthy landowner in Oxfordshire. In 1600, Milton's father probably married Sara Jeffrey (1572-1637), the poet's mother, around the same time. John Milton was educated at St. Paul's School, London. Milton was originally destined to a ministerial career, but his independent spirit led him to give up this career. He matriculated at Christ's College, Cambridge in 1625 and studied there for seven years before he graduated as Master of Arts cum laude on July 3, 1632. At Cambridge, Milton tutored the American theologian, Roger Williams, in Hebrew in exchange for lessons in Dutch. There is evidence to suggest that Milton's experiences at Cambridge were not altogether positive ones and were later to contribute to his views on education. Upon graduating from Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1632 Milton undertook six years of self-directed private study in both ancient and modern disciplines of theology, philosophy, history, politics, literature and science, in preparation for his prospective poetical career. As a result of such intensive study, Milton is considered to be among the most learned of all English poets. The unparalleled scope of "Paradise Lost," his masterpiece, portrays God justifying his actions, the poem also depicts the creation of the universe, earth, and humanity; conveys the origin of sin, death and evil, imagines events in the Kingdom of Heaven, the garden of Eden, and the sacred history of Israel; engages with political ideas of tyranny, liberty and justice, and defends theological positions on predestination, free will, and salvation. Milton's influence on the literature of the Romantic era was profound. In terms of politics, Milton's "Areopagitica" and republican writings were consulted during the drafting of the Constitution of the United States of America.