The Prince of Abissinia. A Tale. In two Volumes …

London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley … and W. Johnston … 1759.

2 vols., 8vo., pp. [4], 159, [1]; [6], 165, [1], lacking the title-page and terminal blank in volume II; the contents leaves A2-4 in vol. II supplied, coming loose, a few short marginal tears; else a very good copy in contemporary quarter calf and marbled boards, rubbed, morocco spine labels, front joint of vol. II cracked; armorial bookplate of Sir Thomas Seabright, Baronet (1723-1761).


US $2033€1873

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First edition of Johnson’s only novel, written in the evenings of a single week to pay for his mother’s funeral. Its rapid execution is said to have been due to the fact that he had been pondering its chief topics all his life. It soon became his most popular work. Although now inevitably called ‘Rasselas’ after the name of the hero, that title was not used in the author’s lifetime except for the first American edition (1768).

Fleeman, I, 785-8; Courtney & Nichol Smith, p. 87; Chapman & Hazen, pp. 142-3; Rothschild 1242; Liebert 73.

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