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A WORK SO well known as "BOSWELL'S LIFE OF JOHNSON," needs no eulogy to those who have read it. Hitherto, however, the book has hardly been brought within reach of the great mass of the lovers of literature; and it may interest those who make acquaintance for the first time with this masterpiece of Biography, to know that the most eminent of critics who have written upon the subject since the book appeared are unanimous in their opinion, that as a life-like portraiture, not only of the personal appearance and singular habits of a distinguished man, but of his strong prejudices, his vigorous eloquence, his homely common sense, and his ready wit, so strikingly shown in the series of conversations which the industry of Boswell has preserved to us-this book stands unrivalled in the literature of our own or any other nation. It is to be hoped that the present edition will recommend itself, both by its cheapness and by the more sterling qualities of careful annotation and copious and judicious illustration which it will be found to possess, to many thousands who have not hitherto had an opportunity of becoming familiar with the work.
Many supplementary notes have been appended to this edition with the view of elucidating any apparent obscurities, without overburdening the text. The numerous engravings with which the
work is illustrated, comprise portraits of most of Johnson's distinguished contemporaries, and of all his intimate associates, which have been engraved from the best available authorities. The scenes too, amid which his life was passed, are represented from contemporary sources, or occasionally from recent sketches made especially for this edition, while the illustrations of the more picturesque incidents of his career have been designed with a due regard to general accuracy.
These few explanations cannot be more appropriately closed than by the expression of the acknowledgments which we owe to Lewis Pocock, Esq., George James Squibb, Esq., and George Daniel, Esq., for the kindness and courtesy which they have severally shown in allowing us the freest access to their invaluable collections of Prints, Paintings, and other relics illustrative of the life and times of Samuel Johnson.
London, March, 1851.