TRAVELS TO DISCOVER THE SOURCE OF THE NILE, IN THE YEARS 1768, 1770, 1771, 1772, AND 1773. . . To which is prefixed , a Life of the Author.

Bruce James, of Kinnaird

Published by Edinburgh J. Ruthven for G.GJ. and J. Robinson et al 1790, 1790
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5 volumes. The first edition, Edinburgh imprint, sometimes called "the best edition" (Cox). With 53 very finely engraved plates, and maps and charts, including 3 very large folding maps. 4to, beautifully bound in very handsome contemporary full polished russia. The covers are decorated with a fine tooled gilt framework around all edges, the spines are gilt ruled and decorated with gilt lettering, board edges gilt ruled, gilt tooled turn-ins, marbled end-leaves and with fine antique engraved armorial plates. lxxxv, 535; viii, 718; viii, 759; viii, 695; xiv, 230, 3 large folding maps, index, errata. A very fine and desirable set, the paper fresh and clean and the text-blocks as solid as could be, the bindings are very handsome with only minor evidence of use or age at the extremities, beautifully preserved and showing far less use or age than is typical, a bit of cosmetic tenderness to the hinges of a few volumes but these are still sturdy and strong, and the folding maps are in excellent condition. HIGHLY IMPORTANT EARLY EXPLORATION INTO AFRICA AND A RARE EDITION IN FULL CONTEMPORARY CALF WITH ORIGINAL SPINE PANELS AND WITHOUT REPAIRS. With time on his hands and at the urging of a friend, Bruce composed this account of his travels on the African continent, including comments on the history and religion of Egypt, an account of Indian trade, a history of Abyssinia, and other such material. Although Bruce would not be confused with "a great scholar or a judicious critic., few books of equal compass are equally entertaining; and few such monuments exist of the energy and enterprise of a single traveller" (DNB). "The result of his travels was a very great enrichment of the knowledge of geography and ethnography" (Cox II, p. 389.) Bruce was one of the earliest westerners to search for the source of the Nile. In November of 1770 he reached the source of the Blue Nile, and though he acknowledged that the White Nile was the larger stream, he claimed that the Blue Nile was the Nile of the ancients and that he was thus the discoverer of its source. The account of his travels was written twelve years after his journey and without reference to his journals, which gave critics grounds for disbelief, but the substantial accuracy of the book has since been amply demonstrated. A cornerstone to any collection of Africana, this is one of the earliest and greatest illustrated works on the seminal discoveries to be made on the continent over hundred year period. Bookseller Inventory # 22605

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: Edinburgh J. Ruthven for G.GJ. and J. Robinson et al 1790

Publication Date: 1790

Binding: Hardcover

Edition: 1st Edition

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