ULTIMA THULE; OR, A SUMMER IN ICELAND

Burton Richard F

Published by London William P. Nimmo 1875, 1875
Hardcover
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2 volumes. First edition. Both volumes with lithographic frontispieces, fold-out maps and illustrations throughout. 8vo, publisherís original blue cloth, lettered and with pictorial motifs and borders in gilt on the spines, the upper covers with large and elaborate central pictorial decorations in gilt and black, bordering decorations in black, double ruled in black, the lower covers embellished in blind with ornamental devices and double border rules. xix, 380, 16 adverts; vii, 408 pp. A pleasing, well preserved and handsome set with some light shelf abrasion to the heads and tails of the spine. Endleaves and hinges in good order but with some minor splitting to the paper, spines a bit mellowed as expected, turnovers and extremities lightly rubbed, light aging, the text blocks in excellent and especially clean state with only minor age toning. Scarce in the original cloth without repairs as in this copy. RARE FIRST EDITION IN THE ORIGINAL CLOTH. In 1872 Burton received an offer from a British mining speculator to explore the sulfur mines in Iceland; he was promised expenses plus £2000 if large deposits should be found. Although the sulfur he found was not easily extracted, Burton was able to spend a great deal of time exploring the island; ULTIMA THULE remains one of the most important books of travel and exploration on the area and is rich with Burton's observations and evocative style. The book covers Icelandic, history, geography, geology, population statistics, taxation problems, fishing, industry, economics, and politics. One gets the impression that Burton, the inveterate adventurer and explorer, found Icelandís natural charms less dramatic than the Himalayas and the Andes. In his usual curmudgeonly style he,"called the geysers a gross humbug. The natives were unwashed and generally unfriendly and the women reminded him of the Ďchilly women of the north who live only by the head.í" Despite his sometimes surly tone, Burtonís stated objective in writing the book was to be a spokesperson for Icelandís development. He saw much hardship in the daily lives of its people and recommended three measures to improve the quality of life there: the working of the sulfur mines, the reform of the operations of the fisheries (their gold mines), and the extension of the emigration movement in a response to overcrowding. Not one of Burtonís more inspired works, still the book is infused with probing observations and colorful descriptions. The author admits that the manuscript languished for two years after his return from Iceland as he became distracted by other writing projects. He believed that the passing of time actually increased his perspective and deepened his understanding of what he had seen. After a brief stop in London, Burton was to set off for his post in Trieste with Isabel where it is said that he labored on as many as 11 manuscripts at one time, each arranged on a separate tables. Bookseller Inventory # 21903

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Bibliographic Details

Title: ULTIMA THULE; OR, A SUMMER IN ICELAND

Publisher: London William P. Nimmo 1875

Publication Date: 1875

Binding: Hardcover

Edition: 1st Edition

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