"A BOOK OF UNCOMMON VALUE AND INTEREST": 1632 FIRST COMPLETE EDITION OF LITHGOW'S TRAVELS IN AFRICA, EUROPE, THE HOLY LAND AND CONSTANTINOPLE
LITHGOW, William. The Totall Discourse, Of the Rare Adventures, and Painefull Peregrinations of Long Nineteene Yeares Travayles, from Scotland, to the Most Famous Kingdomes in Europe, Asia, and Affrica. London: Nicholas Okes, 1632. Square octavo, mid 19th-century full brown calf gilt, raised bands, black morocco spine label, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $7800.
First complete edition, with enlarged and revised text, of this entertaining and engrossing chronicle of the "ill-tempered but courageous Scot" wandering (Baugh et al., 623) from France to England by way of Italy, Greece, Egypt and the Holy Land, with woodcut frontispiece and six other woodcut illustrations, handsomely bound in contemporary calf-gilt.
One of the most popular travel narratives of its day, Lithgow's Discourse presents the author's account of "his 19 years' travel, during which he claims to have tramped 36,000 miles and odd, begin[ning] with his leaving Paris on March 7, 1610 and travelling to Rome, Venice, Athens, Constantinople, etc. During these wanderings he was in frequent peril from storm and shipwreck, robbers and pirates, displayed as great valor as piety, helped a French galley slave to escape and redeemed from bondage a Dalmatian widow. He continued onward to Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Cairo, down the Nile to Alexandria, Sicily, and eventually arrived at the English court… It is a book of uncommon value and interest, for its descriptions of men and manners even more than of places" (DNB XI:1240). With woodcut frontispiece (repeated in text), six further large woodcut illustrations, decorative initials and headpieces. Lithgow's narrative first saw print in 1614; this "first complete" revised and enlarged edition appeared in 1632. STC 15713. Cox I:72. Lowndes, 1370. Allibone, 1107.
Minor foxing to preliminaries and concluding pages, a few scattered stains, expert repair to PPP1 affecting marginal note and small marginal hole to PPP2, only light wear to extremities, joints expertly reinforced. An extremely good copy, handsomely bound.