"FUTURE TRAVELERS WILL DO WELL NOT TO THINK THAT THEY ARE SETTING OUT UPON A MERE PROMENADE": FIRST EDITION OF BURTON'S LAKE REGIONS OF CENTRAL AFRICA, IN VERY RARE FIRST-ISSUE CLOTH BINDING
(AFRICA) BURTON, Richard F. The Lake Regions of Central Africa. A Picture of Exploration. London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1860. Two volumes. Octavo, original plum cloth. $10,500.
First edition of Burton's account of his journey to Lake Tanganyika, with folding map, 12 full-page tinted plates and additional in-text woodcuts. A very desirable copy in the rare first-issue plum cloth. A lovely copy.
One of Burton's unrivaled African narratives, The Lake Regions of Central Africa documents a journey of exploration from Zanzibar Island to the village of Ujiji on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. Together with John Hanning Speke, Burton carefully explored and charted much of the great lake, thought by many to be a major source of the Nile. His account conveys the manners and customs of the region's inhabitants as well as its natural history and geography in the highly literate and exciting style that characterizes the best of Burton's work. "When Speke sailed on to London, Burton remained in Aden for further recuperation… Speke promised to make no announcement of the expedition's results until Burton joined him. When Burton arrived in London on 21 May 1859, he was dismayed to find that Speke had lectured before the Royal Geographical Society, had proposed another expedition to Africa, and was claiming by far the greater share of credit for his and Burton's accomplishments. Speke became the hero of the moment and continued to extol his own achievements in speech and print; Burton, though usually an avid controversialist, made no public attack against Speke for several months. Not until early 1860 did he set forth his position with the publication of The Lake Regions of Central Africa (2 vols., 1860). By then Speke had returned to Africa, but a rift had opened between them that would never be closed. The dispute between Burton and Speke became one of the most celebrated scholarly controversies of the 19th century" (ODNB). First-issue text in first-issue plum cloth binding. The edition did not sell well, and remaindered copies were bound in red cloth, which is much more common. Penzer, 65-6. Abbey, Travel 275.
Interiors clean and fine; minor expert restoration to spine heads only, spines and edges gently sunned, as often. A near-fine copy.