THE FIRST TO REACH THE SOUTH POLE: FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF AMUNDSEN’S OWN ACCOUNT
AMUNDSEN, Roald. The South Pole: An Account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the "Fram," 1910-1912. London: John Murray, 1912. Two volumes. Large, thick octavo, original maroon cloth gilt, top edges gilt, uncut. $4800.
First edition in English (published the same year as the Norwegian first) of Amundsen's memoir of the race to the South Pole, with four maps (two folding), 138 photographic illustrations on 103 plates, as well as numerous in-text maps, graphs, and tables.
Scott's expedition to the South Pole was well-publicized, but his rival Roald Amundsen strategically kept the destination of his ship, the Fram, secret until the last moment. When the Norwegian finally revealed he was bound for the Pole, Sir Clements Markham, the backer of the British expedition, opined that the Fram "has no more sailing qualities than a haystack. In any case, Scott will be on the ground and settled long before Amundsen turns up, if he ever does." There were crucial differences in approach from Scott's ill-fated expedition: dogs, rather than men, provided the raw power needed to pull equipment (they also eventually provided a food source) and the Norwegian crew knew to wear fur clothing rather than the wool used by the British team. Amundsen's party reached the Pole 34 days ahead of Scott. He wrote later in his diary, "The North Pole had attracted me since the days of my childhood, and so I found myself at the South Pole. Can anything more perverse be conceived?" (Huntford, 44). Volume II contains appendixes on the eastern sledge journey, the voyage of the Fram, the construction of the ship, and the scientific results of the expedition. Complete with the folding diagram of the Fram, not found in most copies of the (later) American issue. Originally published in Norwegian in the same year as the present English translation. Without scarce dust jackets. Conrad, 156. Taurus 71. Rosove 9.A1. Stam & Stam 7.1. Contemporary gift inscriptions.
Light foxing to text and a few plates, only slight toning to spines and rubbing to extremities of bright original cloth. A near-fine set.