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ADVERTISEMENT TO THIS EDITION.
In my first edition of this work, in 5 vols. 8vo., 1831, besides endeavouring to elucidate the many obscurities which Mr. Boswell had designedly left or which the lapse of time had created, I hazarded the experiment of inlaying upon the text such passages from the other biographers of Johnson as seemed necessary to fill up the long and frequent chasms, which exist in Boswell's narrative. This plan afforded a more complete view of Johnson's life, though it gave, I must own, a less perfect one of Boswell's work. It had, also, as I originally feared, "a confused and heterogeneous appearance"—with the further disadvantage of not completely fulfilling its object, for the materials turned out to be too copious to admit of a thorough incorporation. On the whole, then, the publisher thought it better in a second edition, 8 vols. 12mo., 1835, to omit from the text all extracts from other works; which were either distributed into the notes, or collected into two supplemental volumes (the 9th and 10th) under the title of JOHNSONIANA - Boswell's Tour to the Hebrides, Johnson's own Letters, his Notes of a Tour in Wales, and extracts from his correspondence with Mrs. Thrale, being only excepted. That edition included some corrections and many additions of my own; but it was carried through the press by the late Mr. Wright, (editor of the Parliamentary History, the Cavendish Debates, &c.) who selected the Johnsoniana, broke the narrative into chapters, and added some notes, which I have now marked with his name.
The present edition is formed on the same principle, for, in addition to every other motive, its shape and size required as much compression as possible. Boswell's text is, therefore, uninterrupted; but I have retained the most important biographical extracts from the Thrale correspondence, and have even found room for a few more original letters. I have also added several new notes, and have abridged, altered, and I hope improved, many of the old ones. I do not flatter myself that I have corrected all former errors, but I have at least diligently endeavoured to do so. As I think I may venture to say that my original edition revived, and in some respects extended, the public interest in Boswell's delightful work, I can desire no more than that my present revision may tend to maintain it.
J. W. CROKER.
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