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The Prince of Abissinia. A Tale.

JOHNSON (Samuel):

  • Publisher: London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley...and W. Johnston..., 1759
London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley...and W. Johnston..., 1759. FIRST EDITION. 2 volumes. Small 8vo, 156 x 94 mms., pp. [iii] iv - viii, 159 - 160 blank; [iii] iv - viii, 165 [166 blank], with leaf a2 in volume 2 reading "CONTENTS," and on page 161 of volume 2 in the second line, the reading "indiscerptible" and the verso of D5 (page 106) in volume 2 signed D4, contemporary calf, neatly rebacked, retaining original spines with volume numbers in gilt on the spines; no front free end-papers or initial blanks in either volume, slight water-staining of last three leaves in volume 2, occasional staining or foxing of text, but a good copy, with the presentation inscription on the blank recto of the leaf before the title-page, "This Book is the/ Gift of Lady Beaumont," and with the autograph "Jane Palmer" on the top margin of each title-page.� Edmund Burke reviewed the novel in The Annual Register, beginning with the assertion that, "in this novel the moral is the principle, and the story is a mere vehicle to convey the instruction. Accordingly the tale is not near so full of incidents, or so diverting in itself, if the ingenious author, if he had not had higher views, might easily have made it; neither is the distinction of character sufficiently attended to: but with these defects, perhaps no book ever inculcated a purer and sounder morality; no book ever made a more just estimate of human life, its pursuits, and its enjoyments." Like many people, Burke was aware of the identity of the author and observed at the end of the review, "there is no doubt he is the same who has done so much for the improvement of our taste and our morals, and employed a great part of his life in an astonishing work for the fixing of the language of this nation; whilst this nation, which admires his works, and profits by them, has done nothing for the author." Fleeman 59.4R/1. Rothschild 1242. The printer was William Strahan, who printed 1500 copies.

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