"ONE OF THE CLASSICS OF ANTARCTIC LITERATURE": FIRST ISSUE OF CHERRY-GARRARD'S FAMED ACCOUNT, IN ORIGINAL BOARDS
CHERRY-GARRARD, Apsley. The Worst Journey in the World: Antarctic 1910-13. London: Constable, (1922). Two volumes. Octavo, original half white cloth, gray paper boards, original paper spine labels, uncut. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $6800.
First edition, rare first issue, of Cherry-Garrard's firsthand account of the most famous of Antarctic expeditions, richly illustrated with reproductions of sketches and photographs made by members of the crew (a number printed in color), five maps and ten folding panoramas.
Cherry-Garrard served as assistant zoologist on Robert Scott's tragic 1910-12 expedition to Antarctica. Dr. Wilson chose Bowers and Cherry-Garrard as his companions for a winter journey in 1911 to the base of Mount Terror to collect Emperor Penguin eggs. "On their return five weeks later Scott described their journey as 'the hardest that has ever been made'—a phrase which later suggested to Cherry-Garrard the title of his narrative of the fortunes of the whole expedition: The Worst Journey in the World" (DNB). When at the base, Cherry-Garrard edited the camp newspaper, South Polar Times. The following summer he accompanied Scott's polar party as far as the summit of the Beardmore Glacier, as planned. Scott arrived at the Pole only to find that a Norwegian team had beaten him there by a month. On the return journey, plagued by blizzards and illness, the sledge party perished near One Ton Depot, where their bodies and diaries were found eight months later by a search party that included Cherry-Garrard. "A very literate, detailed account of the expedition… one of the classics of Antarctic literature" (Conrad, 173). "The best written and most enduring account of exploits in the Antarctic" (Taurus 84). Illustrated with sketches made by Edward Wilson, the science officer of the expedition, who died returning from the pole with Scott; with photographs by expedition members Debenham and Wright; and with five maps (four folding). Rare first issue, in original half white cloth and paper-covered boards. Cherry-Garrard "insisted upon that white half-binding, since he wanted his book to look as handsome and as 'Polar' as possible… Only relatively few copies of the first edition were actually bound up… A second issue, bound in durable blue cloth, rapidly made its way onto the market" (Taurus 84). Without original dust jackets, so rare as to be virtually unobtainable; with extra paper spine labels, one tipped into each volume. Conrad, 173. Fitzgerald 145. Taurus 84.
Interior clean, slight soiling to original boards, toning to cloth spine as always, a bit of fraying to spine ends only. A desirable copy in excellent condition.